My mother died of cancer in December 2013.
It goes without saying that I owe her – and my father – everything. I also owe her Run the World. Partly because she was about the only person who, as I mulled over the idea in 2013, encouraged me to go ahead. And partly because she left me some money which I set aside to fund Run the World. Which had the happy side effect that donors can be sure that 100% of their donations go to Cancer Research.
Run the World started in earnest in January 2014 and, thanks to my amazing (if very small!) team, and the hundreds of people around the world who’ve helped and supported Run the World, an enormous amount has happened in the subsequent five years.
Run the World is no longer just one slightly mad Brit running 10 kms – usually on his own – in various countries. Thousands of people have now joined the runs ; thousands of school children and adults have attended Run the World healthy living talks ; thousands have followed or liked Run the World on social media.
Tens of thousands have heard about Run the World on radio and television around the globe ; tens of thousands have read about Run the World in the newspaper or on the blog ; and tens of thousands of pounds / dollars have been raised for Cancer Research.
I can’t pretend it’s always been easy. I’ve run countless training kilometres trying to stay fit enough to make it through my trips. I’ve spent countless hours in airports and cramped in the cheap seats of various airlines enduring yet another sleepless overnight flight. And I’ve spent even more countless hours on logistics including my pet hate – visas.
I’ve had some dark times on trips – especially at the beginning when I’d often be on my exhausted own for days in a row. I’ve had cancer and, at one stage, I thought my knee had gone and that I wouldn’t be able to walk, let alone run, again without pain. I’ve even come close to giving up.
But it all’s been worthwhile. I’ve seen extraordinary sights and cities and, most importantly to me, met wonderful people all over the world. Don’t believe the impression you get from the media. There are warm, friendly, welcoming people in every country who are more than happy to help and support a good cause.
Throughout everything that’s happened over the last 5 years, the one constant has been Run the World’s twin objectives :
- We’re still trying to raise as much money as we can for Cancer Research. At a time when cancer rates are rising across the world, this has never been more important.
- And we’re still promoting the importance of an active, healthy lifestyle and the mental and physical health benefits it brings – including a decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression and dementia. (It also, as I always tell my school audiences, helps with academic performance!)
The following is a brief report on where we’ve got to – so far – with Run the World. Please read it – it’ll only take a minute and includes information on a number of areas that might be of interest including the plans for the Grand Finale!
Run the World : Fifth Anniversary Update
Runs & Runners
I have now run in 161 countries, and with more than 3,200 people, and am fairly much on target to complete all 206 countries by the 2020 Olympic/ Paralympics. Although if anyone can help with Saudi Arabia and Iran (visa issues) or Libya, Yemen or Syria (security concerns) then I’d love to hear from you! (Please see below for details about upcoming runs.)
Total fundraising now stands at almost £45,000/$60,000 and I hope to exceed £60,000/$75,000 by the time I finish. Thank you, as always, to everyone who has donated – it is enormously appreciated by both myself and Cancer Research!
Talking of finishing, the UK and final leg of Run the World will be in London on July 4th 2020 and it would be fantastic if you could join us for the run and subsequent party!
In addition to the running and fundraising, I now do school and adult Run the World talks. These combine stories of my (mis)adventures around the world with Run the World’s second objective : promoting an active, healthy lifestyle. Please do contact us if you know an audience who might be interested. (Quotes and references about previous school talks can be seen here.)
If you’re based in the UK then it would be great if you could join one or more of the additional UK 10 km runs. There’ll be 44 in total – including one in every London borough. Enough for you to create your own fundraising challenge if you were so inclined! (The UK runs will take my global total to 250 runs. Which is equivalent to running 2 500 000 meters – one metre for every cancer sufferer in the UK.)
Staying in Touch
Please, please do like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it’s a great way to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!
Thank you so much for all your help to date and please don’t hesitate to contact us – about any of the above – or just to say hello! (Run the World can be contacted via email – email@example.com – or by commenting on this blog or via social media as above.)
We’d love to hear from you if you, or any of your contacts, could join any of the upcoming February and March runs in Africa :
- Bamako (Mali) – Tuesday 5 February
- Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Thursday 7 February
- Niamey (Niger) – Saturday 9 February (morning)
- Ndjamena (Chad) – Saturday 9 February (evening) or Sunday 10 February (early morning)
- Bangui (Central African Republic) – Sunday 10 February
- Douala (Cameroon) – Monday 11 February
- Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) – Tuesday 12 February
- Djibouti City (Djibouti) – Monday 18 March
- Asmara (Eritrea) – Tuesday 19 March
- Khartoum (Sudan) – Thursday 21 March
- Moroni (Comoros) – Friday 22 March (evening) or Saturday 23 March (morning)