An adventure like no other – The Uganda Marathon
Posted on: 18 May 2016 by Leon Milns
In exactly 20 days, I’ll find myself lining up on the starting line of the Uganda Marathon alongside 5000 runners from all over the globe. That’s not a typo. Yes, the Uganda Marathon, ready both mentally and physically to tackle the rugged terrain, stifling heat and whatever else I might stumble across over the distance. And do you know what, I cannot wait.
Mental? Totally. I turn 40 in November and had one of those giddy middle aged crisis moments where all of a sudden I want to give something back to the world rather than a clichéd trip to Vegas or somewhere similar. Even better, I’ve managed to convince my other half & self-confessed run hater Lottie along to enjoy / endure the ride.
Joking apart, we are both massively excited about this challenging yet rewarding goal we have set ourselves and can’t wait to experience all it will throw at us along the way to achieving it. We’re convinced it will be a life changing experience and one which will enable us to make a hugely valuable contribution to the charities we have chosen to raise money for both in Uganda and the UK.
Prior to donning our trainers, we’re so fortunate to have the chance to live in a Ugandan community for the week where we will spend time rolling our sleeves up to help the various charities on the ground we’ve been actively raising money for. I’m pretty sure my ‘textbook DIY’ or more appropriately ‘lack of’ skills are going to be massively exposed.
We set ourselves a target of £2,000 which we are hoping to smash and as I write this blog we are within touching distance of £3,000.
We are raising money for three different charities, two of which do fantastic work in Uganda.
Knowledge for Children Uganda operates to invest in quality education for children in rural areas. Their vision is to invest in the knowledge of children, teachers, parents and the local community as a whole. They work tirelessly, contributing to communities’ self-reliance and improving the quality of education. In co-operation and with the support of the government and their partners, they want nothing more than to raise the level of education to a structurally higher level in the rural areas of Uganda.
STEP is a project that focuses on elderly folk in Uganda. They are one of the groups in greatest need as there is no welfare or support structure for them. Many have lost their entire families through HIV/AIDS and charity funding is concentrated on more ‘photogenic’ children’s causes. This means that they are often left to fend on their own.
From money raised by runners’ in 2015, these charities were able to fund textbooks for three schools for an entire year, helping to improve the education of 1,240 children for ever. They were also able to fund a piggery structure and two pigs (who have now given birth to 18 piglets) which are helping to support an entire community through STEP.
Money raised from this year’s marathon will mean that another three schools can be added to the program which encompasses all the best practices of a helping hand rather than a donation system. The funds will also go towards replicating the piggery structure in another community, helping provide a sustainable source of income for a whole new community of elderly Africans.
Back in the UK, we are also raising funds for a charity which is very close to our hearts. The Murray Parish Trust are on a mission to raise £2million to build a new children’s A&E department at the Southampton University Hospital. They are working tirelessly to make sure that this essential unit has the best, up-to-date lifesaving equipment it needs, and the space to use it in order to help young children who are sadly suffering from congenital heart defects.