The London Marathon: an incredible and rewarding experience
Jesuit Missions (JM) is encouraging wannabe Marathon-runners to get into training as soon as possible and to start fundraising to help provide better education in refugee camps. Every year, JM fields a team of runners in the London Marathon and it is currently recruiting for next year’s event, which will be held on Sunday 23 April 2017.
“We recommend that runners begin their training as soon as they can,” says JM’s Assistant Director, Richard Greenwood. “Beginning your training in the winter can be difficult, so the more strength and endurance you have built up in the good weather, the better equipped you will be as you ramp up the longer runs in the months and weeks leading up to the Marathon.”
Potential runners need to apply for a place on the team and, once they are accepted, they will be advised about setting up a Virgin Money Giving fundraising page, which is linked to Jesuit Missions. “You will have complete control over your page,” says Richard, “which will help you to keep your story updated, and will also allow you to upload photographs. People are generally more responsive to photos and keeping donors aware of your progress can only help to increase the amount you raise.”
A community of support
The 2016 Jesuit Missions London Marathon team was comprised of 24 runners, who raised money for the JM Syria appeal which sends much needed medical supplies to the sick and injured in Homs and Damascus. Runners are encouraged to set themselves a fundraising target of £2,000, which might seem like a large amount but experience has proved that with good preparation it is achievable. JM also helps by promoting their fundraising pages on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.
“The support from us begins the moment you have been accepted onto our team,” Richard explains. “You will receive weekly emails from us with fundraising ideas, help with setting up your page, tips on training and most importantly, encouragement! As part of our team, if you wish to, you can connect with other team members via social media or other outlets, to form a community of support with others experiencing the same ups and downs of training for a marathon.” This is a view shared by past Marathon runners. Ben Smith, for instance, described it as “one of the best days” of his life, highlighting “… the experience of feeling a part of a team, of running for a truly worthwhile cause, of being looked after from the early training, through to dinner the night before, the support on the day, invitations to the ‘After’ party, the pats on the backs, and the photos …”
First Marathon after 60 years
John and Clare Greenwood ran the London Marathon for Jesuit Missions for the first time this year, and Clare says it was definitely all worthwhile. “Yes, the training was hard throughout the winter. “Yes, the fundraising was a challenge. But the support from the Jesuits was superb! Their care and attention to detail during the Marathon weekend was tremendous: we were fed, accommodated, transported, massaged ...the list goes on. We waited 60 years to run this, our first marathon. If you think you might be up to the challenge, don't hesitate!”
Nacho Pedraz agrees. “I am really impressed by the amount of time and effort all the supporting team did put to make us feel comfortable,” he says. “The big applause really goes to you all. It has been an incredible and personally rewarding experience for me, where the time result was of secondary importance and the main takeaway was the team spirit I found there, the great cause we run for and great people I met.”
If you feel that you are up for the challenge this amazing experience presents, you can apply for a place on the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org