This year at the London Marathon, JRS UK has 5 dedicated runners on the team who are taking on this challenge to support refugees. One of them is Ana, who is running together with her friend Eileen on the team. We recently chatted with Ana to hear more about what motivated her to run the full marathon and what her fundraising would look like for these three weeks leading up to the race.
What made you decide to run the London Marathon for JRS?
My friend Eileen asked me to! I didn’t want to do a marathon, ever, because the half marathons I did were enough. And in fact, I moved from half marathons to triathlons because they were easier to train for. And really, running for three or four hours is a killer! But Eileen asked me and I couldn’t say no, because she’s my friend and it is for supporting refugees, which is a good cause. So with both things together, I thought: I will do it with you!
I also feel that refugees have a very hard life. In today’s society, in my experience —not everybody, obviously— some people really think that we shouldn’t be open to refugees because they’re going to take away all our services. And it’s scary when you meet people who think like this, because nobody chooses to suddenly be a refugee, as if they think one day ‘I will leave everything behind, then I’m going to some country where I don’t speak the language.’ It’s really quite dire, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. So it really does annoy me when people think or suggest that refugees are “going to come, do nothing and take all of our money”. It does annoy me, because I find it very short-sighted, very inhuman. And I do wonder, for some of these people, how would they feel if they were the refugees, if they had to flee from their countries. Nobody chooses to uproot themselves like that. With the current government’s plan to send people to Rwanda, I mean, what?! We should be really helping refugees! Anyway, it upsets me when people want to treat refugees badly.
You recently shared a reflection on the tragedy of migrant boat shipwreck in Italy, which motivated you to keep on going with your training and to keep on running for the cause of supporting refugees. Can you talk more about this?
When I am in pain—yesterday I was in pain, my feet were hurting, my legs were hurting—I was thinking: I am hurting because I chose to go running. But a refugee has their whole body, their whole soul hurting—everything is hurting. Emotionally they are broken. Also, I was going to run and get home, I was going to have a nice shower, and eat—they don’t know when they are going to arrive, and they don’t know where they are going to arrive. So yes, it motivates me, when I am in pain and I thought: this is nothing compared to what they would have to go through. So, it really motivates me to carry on. Sometimes it’s difficult to have to start walking, but it puts one into the mind that how little we suffer compared to them. And it motivates me to run for them, to do this little bit for them, really, because I can’t do any more. I wish I could do more, but I can’t.
Thank you so much for sharing, Ana! Do you have any fundraising plans or tips for other runners?
What I realised is that you really have to tell everybody you know! Everybody, and not be shy! Because if I don’t share my fundraising campaign with people, the possibility of them donating wouldn’t be there. And also, to tell people if you cannot give money, you can always put a comment. But the thing is to share with as many as you know!
I am going to make a LinkedIn post (I don’t use Facebook) for all of my network, because they don’t know I am doing this. I am also going to send it to everyone I know over email. The other thing is to post it several times, not just once. Because if I post only once, people might want to donate, but get distracted and forget. So, my plan is to post one this week, and then one each week in the following 3 weeks before the race—just to encourage people to donate.
A huge thank you to Ana for being a part of our team of marathon runners this year!
Below are some lovely photos Ana recently took on her short training run.
For more on Ana’s regular training updates and to help Ana meet her fundraising goal, check out her campaign page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ana-ferrer