Running to welcome more
A team of runners will take up the challenge of the London Marathon for Jesuit Refugee Service UK on 28th April, this year for the first time.
“I came to London many years ago from the North West, but I have always felt welcome here,” explains Daniel Curtin. “I now feel duty bound to share that with others, to make them welcome, just as others shared their city with me. I can’t, however, achieve this by myself. I know all those coming to their Day Centre feel that they belong when they receive the warm welcome from all at JRS. By supporting their work, I can tell all those whom they accompany, that I welcome them too. JRS’s welcome is, in some ways, a welcome on my behalf. My aching feet and knees have purpose!”
After watching the Marathon runners passing by his house every year, Daniel has finally decided to take part. A semi-keen jogger, he will embark on his first long-distance run. Lucky with this year’s mild wintry temperatures, he had to run only once in the rain. The biggest challenge of the training so far has been finding the time: getting a 3 hours slot in the busy week in order to do a long run revealed quite difficult. But there have been also stunning highlights, like a 26 km run through the national park in Donegal. “It was just beautiful, and I don’t think you’d have had the time to see it all if you were walking because it would be too long a distance.”
Stephen Bullivant and Andrew Tucker will be part of the team, with an extra task to carry on: they will pray a decade of the rosary while running on the 28th of April for everyone who donates to their ‘Marython’. Stephen has shared the beginning of this initiative in a piece for The Catholic Herald.
The training of Aidan Cantwell, Operations Manager at JRS UK, is going extremely well. “Very few people doubted my ability to train for this, but I was one of them,” he admits. “I have amazed myself with my commitment and last weekend I ran 15 miles, a new personal best.” Aidan ran the Great North Run, which counts 13 miles, twice in the past, but not much in recent years.
He decided to join the JRS UK team for the 2019 London Marathon in September. The main motivating factor has been witnessing the great work of all the staff and volunteers at the centre. “We have been able to increase our capacity to accompany, and get to know many of our friends more closely. Every day, I see firsthand the support our refugee friends receive with special grants and I know more funding is needed to enable more to be given.”
He has been motivated to train well from the encouragement of many, and dealing with injuries has probably been the biggest challenge faced so far. Aidan has organized a quiz night at JRS on a Friday evening for staff, volunteers and friends. The event helped to raise £250 and the night has been hugely enjoyed by the 40 players who attended.
“Everybody I know seems to share my enthusiasm for one of the, if not the, craziest things I’ve ever embarked upon,” he says. “And I’m going to miss JustGiving sending me regular messages entitled, ‘Someone has made a donation to your page’.”
The money raised by Daniel, Aidan, Andrew and Stephen will help JRS to continue to accompany destitute and detained refugees in a spirit of hospitality, welcome and love. Please, consider supporting their efforts.