Running marathon from 4.45 today


Hello.

As you may have gathered i’m running a marathon today at the Women for Women gala, in Banqueting House. I’ll start running from 4.45pm today and will do my best to stream it live via Twitter and Facebook. No marathon is every easy, i’m i think this will be tough tonight, so if you can send your support in any form possible that would  really be appreciated. If you do tune in you’ll see how a marathon slowly strips back the layers and basically see my body crumple up as the minutes tick by.

Remember if you can guess my finishing time then i’ll give you a free copy of a new book that is being released by Women for Women called: Share.

Thanks,

Chrs

Advertisements

Treadmill #marafun tomorrow night


Ok. Here it goes. You’ll have seen last week that I’m heading back to the Congo this summer.

Asics treadmill marathon (2010)

Now I know I said, this isn’t just about more running…well I lied a little as there will be a touch more running as I attempt to run a treadmill marathon at the Women for Women Gala on Thursday evening and stream it live over Twitter and Facebook. I’ll be running from about 4.30 on Thursday (15th May)

Women for Women invited me along and I kind of felt guilty just attending and wanted to do what I could to try and help them fundraise on the night. On the evening there will be a silent auction where lots of lovely stuff gets auctioned off. Now sadly I don’t own a villa in France or have access to a day spa to offer up for auction. However, what I do have is that mundane ability to run.

So I thought what better way to try and raise a bit more of money for Women for Women by running a sweepstake on my finishing time for running a marathon on the night to try and raise some more money. I’m aiming to raise over £1000 on the evening for Women for Women.

Tomorrow I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to stream the whole run live via my iPhone and I’ll be running a live Twitter Q&A while running.

So if you’ve ever wondered what it is like to run a marathon then please tweet questions at me using the hashtag #maratweet or via Facebook. As you might imagine running on a treadmill could get a bit tedious so if you can tweet at me questions, comments or anything else then please do and please do share it with you friends via Facebook and Twitter please.

I’ve never tried anything like this before and I have no idea what it’ll be like streaming it, but I thought it’d be fun.

I also appreciate that most of you reading this probably won’t be at the gala on Thursday. However, I wanted to run a similar competition, so if you can donate just £2 on www.justgiving.com/runforcongo then I’ll give the person who gets the closest time a copy of the new cook book that Women for Women are launching tomorrow called Share.

Thanking you.

Chris

Going back to Congo in June 2013


On the 7th June I’ll be heading back to Eastern Congo to run, cook and learn.Making soap

After a visit to the Congo in 2009 I left with the desire to make more people aware of the situation in Eastern DRC. This prompted to run a marathon a month through 2010 and in 2011 take part in the world’s longest kayak race. The strongest memory I have from this campaign was my visit to the Congo in August 2010 when myself and four friends went to the Congo to share the stories of the women and men in the DRC to people in the UK to understand how their lives having been affected by the ongoing instability in the region.

That was over three years ago and the situation in the Congo has not improved, despite significant developments, such as the much-publicized G8 announcement on sexual violence fronted by William Hague and Angelina Jolie.

For me personally it has taken a while to realise that it doesn’t matter how far or fast you run, you need to be creative to get people to take an interest and when you get their attention you need to be able to show them why it matters by letting the people who live there, tell them what they are going through. That’s why in June of this year I’m going back to Congo, but the main thing in my backpack will be a cookbook rather than my trainers.

You may have seen already but Women for Women the charity that I have supported through my campaigning efforts are have released a new book which has recipes from the women they work with in different conflict zones, like the Congo. Other contributors to the book include more well-known personalities like Meryl Streep, Paul McCartney and Nelson Mandela. I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute a recipe too (I supplied a rather basic pasta recipe).

I bloody love cooking and this all got me thinking. So I’ve decided to back to the Congo in June to understand a little bit more about what food and cooking actually means when you are surrounded by conflict and insecurity. All these questions started buzzing in my mind and I wanted to go out there and try and find answers to them.

In the simplest sense food can make you stronger and give you energy, but in a region ravaged by civil war can it mean more than that, bringing joy and satisfaction when everything around you is so unstable? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I want to know and hopefully be asking these questions and cooking alongside these women.

My main aim in going back to the Congo is to see what has changed since last there in 2010 and to continue my campaign to get people to keep their interest in the Congo. While I’ll be taking my trainers and running another marathon there. My main aim will be to try and get people to relate to those in the Congo, to appreciate what they are going through by focusing on something that is common to us all – eating.

This means a lot to me..


Comments from a great friend about the coming weeks ahead…

‘I’ve known Chris since we were teenagers and to be honest with you I
have always been a little bit worried about him. He has a great deal
of energy and clearly has a need to find outlets for that which have
luckily become more and more focused over the years.

I’m immensely proud of what Chris has set out to achieve and always do
my best to spread the word. When he went to the Congo last year a few
of us questioned his sanity, after all it is one of the biggest areas
of lawlessness on the planet. I work in a political environment and
was keenly aware of the attitude taken by the Foreign Office and
regional experts on travel to the Congo which was quite simpy ‘ don’t
do it’. The problem with Chris is that once you suggest he couldn’t,
or he shouldn’t do something then it hardens his resolve to do it.

He returned from last years trip a visibly changed man. Although we
didn’t discuss it at length there was an occassion after a few beers
when he was able to tell us about some of the things he had seen on
his trip. I noticed then that it had instilled a steely resolve which
has become more and more evident as 12×12 has grown from an already
amibitious undertaking to the challenge of not one, but a hundred
lifetimes.

I guess now the trip gets nearer it’s hard not think about the time he
had a gun held to his head after a midnight militia raid on his hotel.
His travelling partner Dominic Goggins is also a good friend and of
course I worry about them both. In a country where 6 million people
have died in a decade you know the lives of two foolhardy young Brits
are probably pretty cheap.

The reality though is that I am not that worried, Chris went last time
off his own back. This time he has organisational support and a cause
which will resonate with those whose lives have been shattered by the
ongoing conflict. I guess we have all grown used to the idea and tend
to think of Chris as invincible but the funny thing about what he has
done is that if the worst came to the worst I know that all of us
around him who have watched this incredible journey would probably
want to carry on campaigning to raise awareness of the situation in
the Congo. That is the beauty of it; by putting his own life on the
line he is changing the prospects of thousands of others.”


‘I’ve known Chris since we were teenagers and to be honest with you I
have always been a little bit worried about him. He has a great deal
of energy and clearly has a need to find outlets for that which have
luckily become more and more focused over the years.

I’m immensely proud of what Chris has set out to achieve and always do
my best to spread the word. When he went to the Congo last year a few
of us questioned his sanity, after all it is one of the biggest areas
of lawlessness on the planet. I work in a political environment and
was keenly aware of the attitude taken by the Foreign Office and
regional experts on travel to the Congo which was quite simpy ‘ don’t
do it’. The problem with Chris is that once you suggest he couldn’t,
or he shouldn’t do something then it hardens his resolve to do it.

He returned from last years trip a visibly changed man. Although we
didn’t discuss it at length there was an occassion after a few beers
when he was able to tell us about some of the things he had seen on
his trip. I noticed then that it had instilled a steely resolve which
has become more and more evident as 12×12 has grown from an already
amibitious undertaking to the challenge of not one, but a hundred
lifetimes.

I guess now the trip gets nearer it’s hard not think about the time he
had a gun held to his head after a midnight militia raid on his hotel.
His travelling partner Dominic Goggins is also a good friend and of
course I worry about them both. In a country where 6 million people
have died in a decade you know the lives of two foolhardy young Brits
are probably pretty cheap.

The reality though is that I am not that worried, Chris went last time
off his own back. This time he has organisational support and a cause
which will resonate with those whose lives have been shattered by the
ongoing conflict. I guess we have all grown used to the idea and tend
to think of Chris as invincible but the funny thing about what he has
done is that if the worst came to the worst I know that all of us
around him who have watched this incredible journey would probably
want to carry on campaigning to raise awareness of the situation in
the Congo. That is the beauty of it; by putting his own life on the
line he is changing the prospects of thousands of others.”

Tough times.


 

Quite a tough day today. Spent 5 hours training on my bike and came home to find my knees had swollen up significantly from the cycling. I had been giving it some thought recently to pull out the Iron Man but today’s event has confirmed it. It is with real regret that I have to do this, but for my sanity and health I thought it was best. I’m fully committed to all 12 marathons, but I think competing in the Iron Man maybe one step to far. I would hate to jeopardise the attempt to run 12 marathons and also my preparations for the run in the Congo by putting my body through one of the toughest races you can do. I’m only 26 and have plenty of time to do an Iron Man – I’m sure I’ll do one soon enough and I want to give it all my energy, but for the time being this will have to wait.. I apologise if I’m letting anyone down, but training for the Iron Man and the race itself has put my body under extreme stress and strain. 

Interesting couple of days news-wise. 

I have to say I’m extremely worried about the comments that Andrew Mitchell, the UK Minister for Development, is set to make tomorrow. Essentially it looks like he will outline a strategy to send greater levels of DFID funding to countries where the UK has a direct military engagement – Afghanistan. I’m a massive supporter of the UK troops in Afghanistan. However, I am upset to see the Government commitment to ‘ring fence’ international development essentially mean that DFID money is ploughed into Afghanistan, to make up for cuts in Defence spending. Mitchell will try and justify this policy tomorrow by saying that the Government will reduce aid to countries that don’t need it – China, India and South America countries. But at present DFID spending in these regions is extremely small compared to the amounts spent in Africa. Realistically the axe is likely to fall in places like the DRC – the UK is the second largest bi-lateral donor and spends an estimated £250,000 per day in the DRC on aid. Because the UK public aren’t aware of the atrocities in the DRC and the ongoing conflict this makes it extremely easy for UK Government to slash funding at a time when the DRC needs it. If Mitchell wants to cut spending, then at least ensure that he introduces a coherent response on how he will make up for the lack of funding and give real direction to UK policy in the DRC. 

There has also been increasing tensions within Rwanda in the run up to the election after a series of opposition politicians and supporters have been murdered in recent weeks – placing considerable pressure on Paul Kagame, current president of Rwanda. With the elections set to take place next month, it does leave me feeling slightly concerned about any escalation of violence or stress in the weeks leading up to the election.

Photos, PR Week and treadmill marathon…


Preparations and developments are gathering a pace for the run in the Congo. Some great photos from Tuesday night with Christine Karumba and Judith Wanga now on Flicker and comments from Anne Lennox about it on her blog.

Bit of coverage today in the national magazine PR week as well!

Currently gearing myself up for running a marathon on a treadmill in central London on Saturday morning – who knows what this will be like: boring or interesting?? If you are around come to 29 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7EB – seconds away from Oxford Circus tube station!

Annie Lennox’s comments:

There’s an unquestionable zeitgeist in the air, with a big capital “W” at the fore of it..
July 6th 2010

Just came back from a special event at Amnesty International, focusing on the plight of women in Congo. Had an earlier meet with various folks..The White Ribbon Alliance/ Women 4 Women, and Oxfam..trying to work out how we can create a broader and more effective profile and platform for the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day here in the UK.
There’s an unquestionable zeitgeist in the air, with a big capital “W” at the fore of it..Many western women are complacent..We inherited the benefits of an emancipation that we didn’t have to struggle for, therefore we took it for granted, and the message became skewed… even ridiculed, for all kinds of reasons.
The term “Feminism” is slightly abashed and cowering in a cupboard somewhere, engulfed by the heady aroma of the dying embers of burned bras, and unshaved armpits. Feminists don’t need to be “strident”, or” ball breakers”, or even “female” to qualify.  And here’s the deal.. ”Feminism“ has been alive and working for decades in every part of the globe, and at all kinds of levels all along. It’s just that the dots haven’t always been joined up… the separate manifestations haven’t always been connected as a whole.
We’re at a point where the light needs to shine on it again, so that we can acknowledge the force and power that we are “collectively” in order to become redefined and recognised for who we all are.. Now.
Watch this space.