Staring down at the email asking me if I could write a short article on why I am running the Shrewsbury Marathon, realisation is slowly kicking in. In just over a month from now I will have to run 13.1 miles across Shrewsbury – a somewhat daunting prospect.
Other then Miss Farris slipping the topic lightly into conversation during a Hunt session back in February, a key reason for understanding what possibly could have influenced me to take on such a challenge is the fact that of course it will be raising awareness and money towards a good cause – the School's charity Medic Malawi. But I suppose it’s also just to prove to my slightly doubtful friends (as I’m never one to turn down a lift from MSH to main school) and to myself that simply, I am actually capable of doing it.
As for training, I’m a member of the Hunt and so for some bizarre reason actually find running enjoyable at times, but motivation has been slightly lacking. Being in MSH, let’s just say were not a house most famous for our sporting abilities. A perfect example being Mrs Peak having to use numerous boxes of chocolate bars to bribe the House just into running the Tucks at the beginning of the year, which now to me seems a 'mere' 4k(ish).
So a combination of being unsuccessful in persuading someone to get out and train with me, plus not exactly knowing many running routes around Shrewsbury, means that the task of completing 13 miles in an acceptable time is certainly not going to be easy. On the bright side, however, I’m just grateful the age restriction stopped my naively ambitious self from committing to running the full 26.2 miles.
Luckily there is some form of hope: persistently being reminded by Miss Rule every Thursday that the day is looming closer and that she is advancing towards her aim of ‘seven-minute miles’. The idea of letting her beat me is just not a viable option and it provides me with all the motivation I need. So hopefully it will ensure my crossing over the finish line – with my ego still intact.
Medic Malawi is a young, small and dynamic charity whose slogan is “The Power of Giving”. It is transforming a very poor, large rural community in the seventh poorest country in the world, funding a hospital, orphanages, schools and feeding centre in work which has been described by the local Bishop as “a beacon project for the development of the whole country”.
Medic Malawi is special because it has no UK costs: it is run from a kitchen table in Shrewsbury by Stephen Drew, the husband of a member of our teaching staff, and so 'what we give is what they get’.
One of the charity's main purposes is to take people to Malawi itself to share life with the people of ‘The Warm Heart of Africa' and to learn from them. The first group of Shrewsbury students visited Malawi in 2012; they were deeply moved by both the need of the area and the achievements of the charity. The next Shrewsbury trip is planed for summer 2014.
Medic Malawi’s immediate aims include building a simple residential hostel to encourage girls' attendance at secondary school - the distances they travel can be huge; and an eye clinic to treat and prevent eye disease and blindness, which is an acute local problem.
The School’s Shrewsbury Marathon Team would be hugely grateful for as many donations as possible to support the work of Medic Malawi. Donations can be made via
www.justgiving.com/medicmalawi or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some images from the Shrewsbury School visit to Malawi, summer 2012 (Photos by Andrew Spicer M LVI)