Thank you

Hi, I am writing to say thank you for your valuable support so far in helping me get close to completing the challenge of running 12 marathons in 12 months to raise awareness and money for the millions of people in the DRC who have been caught up in one the world’s deadliest wars this world has seen. I apologies if this letter is quite wordy and too long but I want to tell you about what you have done by supporting me in running 12 marathons in 12 months. With only two marathons to go, I can already say that this has been one of the most challenging, strenuous and testing years of my life. What began originally as only running the London marathon has led me to run nearly 270 miles competitively and edging towards 2000 miles in preparation for the marathons. This would not have been possible without your support. Throughout this year there have been countless occasions where I felt I couldn’t go on with the running. The combined loss of 12 toenails (they would grow back and fall off promptly), numerous injuries and constant fatigue has been extremely testing. Your words of encouragement and extremely generous donations have served to drive me on through some painful moments and most importantly given me to the strenght, determination and optimism to keep me going and do as much as I can in trying to get more people to be aware of the deadly and destructive conflict in the DRC. Completing the marathons is a huge personal achievement for me, but what I am most proud of is the level of interest and awareness this running has led to about the conflict in the DRC. The decision to travel to the DRC and run a marathon there was foolish in the eyes of many but only by visiting the DRC have I come to understand more about the conflict but most importantly be able to share with you and the wider public the horrors that people have faced in the past and continue to face on a daily basis. Visiting the DRC in August this year wasn’t easy by any stretch, sitting a listening to women who had been raped and have had to watch their lives and families killed is not easy. You sit their and soak up the guilt of not knowing what to do or say. But by visiting these women and talking with them and being able to explain that people in the UK were aware of what was happening to them seemed to be extremely important to them. The support and interest you gave encouraged me to go there to try and make a difference. Without this. It is unlikely that I wouldn’t have made this trip and these women’s stories would never had been told. If you have seen the following programmes then please take a moment to listen to this documentary we made in the DRC for the BBC world service. Millie Harvey and Nicola York who accompanied me to the DRC also created this powerful news report for Channel 4 News. This report was followed up by Lindsay Hilsum, Channel 4 News International Editor, who said she was inspired by our trip to the DRC to go back to the DRC in October to shed more light on the conflict. There has also been a number of press articles in local, national and international publications covering my attempt to run 12 marathons 12 months as well as the attempt to run what had been dubbed as the world’s most dangerous marathon in the DRC. I would have loved to get more coverage of the running, but as a friend from a PR company once told me ‘if it bleeds it leads’. Some of the national papers only wanted to cover the run if I got into difficulty, as the deputy of the daily mail said: ” I’m afraid we wouldn’t run a piece promoting the run before you undertake it but, depending on what happens during the marathon, we might possibly be interested in an account of it afterwards. If things don’t go according to plan, if there are unforseen difficulties, dramatic events etc then it could make a feature for us, if you have good photos to illustrate it.”

It is strange to think that when nearly 6 million people have been killed, an Editor of a major national paper is only interested if I’d got into trouble…I would have thought enough blood had been spilled. Obviously not, which is why I’m so grateful for your interest and support this year. Cheers, Chris


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