Hi Andrea, thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Let’s get started:
Why did you decide to run the London marathon in 2020?
I absolutely love running and I’ve wanted to run a marathon for a few years now…it has been my goal to run a marathon before I turn 30. The London Marathon is not only an iconic marathon (and that is just over the pond for me here in Dublin), but it is also just a month before my 30th birthday, so it was certainly meant to be.
Sounds like a great goal and brilliant timing! Why did you decide to take on this challenge for JRS UK?
For those that know me, they will know of my love for running and my heart for social justice, so it is a privilege that I have the opportunity to combine these passions by running for an organisation that shares very similar values that I do. It was during my studies that I caught a glimpse of the harsh reality of the exploitative practices that target vulnerable groups and where I realised just how unkind this world can be. So, to have the opportunity to fly the flag for people who simply just need to be shown kindness, and who depend so much on the work of JRS UK, will be one of my greatest honours.
And was there any reason the work of JRS UK specifically resonated with you?
My friend Alannah actually sent me the link for the JRS UK marathon application. Alannah and I have been friends since school and will be running the marathon together. JRS UK specifically resonated with me as they are an organisation that help a particularly vulnerable group of people: people who are often exploited and people who are often treated unkindly. The exploitation of people was my area of focus whilst studying towards a Masters in Law, where I specifically concentrated on the plight of human trafficking.
We work with victims of trafficking in detention so it’s encouraging to hear about your passion for helping them. How have you found the physical training process in preparation for the marathon so far?
Storm Dennis and his cold winter ways certainly do not help the training and preparation, so it does make it that much more of a challenge, but it will make the achievement in the end just that much sweeter. Enjoying running as much as I do, along with having a great network of friends who are also runners, makes the preparation that much easier.
And how have you found the fundraising process?
The fundraising process is a scary one but also one that I have been so pleasantly surprised by. I have been moved so much by people’s generosity and kindness, both in their financial giving, and also in their offering of time, skills and assistance towards my efforts. Friends, family and colleagues have been integral and they have made the process very exciting.
That’s great! Obviously, part of your support network is also your friend with whom you will be running the marathon. How would you say that has made the process easier?
“The road seems shorter when shared with a friend” and it can’t be truer than being able to share the journey and prepare for the marathon, both with my training and my fundraising efforts, alongside my long-time friend, Alannah. Being able to ring each other up and share the stress and excitement makes the challenge a little less daunting and turns it into a bit of fun too. I am also lucky to have a great support network both in Ireland and South Africa so whilst some days are stressful, the support from friends and family make those days bearable, and mean more than I could ever express.
Obviously we’re so grateful for your and Alannah’s brilliant fundraising efforts so far. Can you tell me a little more about your recent fundraising event that you held?
I hosted a Charity Quiz night at my favourite pub in Dublin, Mulligan and Haines, on the 27th February and there were over 100 guests. We raised over £2,000 in just one night, so I am currently sitting just under £3,000 in donations. Among many other prizes was an ‘Africa’s Own’ artwork. I have another South African raffle launching next week.
That’s fantastic! So if you could sum up your experience of fundraising & training for JRS UK in three words what would you say?
Terrifying but exciting.
And that brings me to the actual marathon itself. What would you say are your biggest hopes for the day you run the London Marathon?
To inspire others to do something not just for themselves, but for others too, and to do so with joy.
Thank you so much Andrea! Do you have any other things you’d like to share with us?
Just that I am grateful for this experience. It is teaching me so much about the value of community and it is creating platforms for conversations around matters that some would not ordinarily have.
And we are so grateful to you Andrea, for helping us meet an ambitious fundraising target!
A huge thank you to Andrea, Alannah and our 4 other marathon runners for 2020. Your dedicated training and fundraising will make a remarkable difference to the lives of the destitute refugees at our Day Centre.
April’s London Marathon has been postponed and rearranged for 4 October due to the coronavirus outbreak, however you can still help Andrea, or any of our other marathon fundraisers, meet their goal by visiting their fundraising page