Methodist charity appeals for marathon runners

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund is appealing for potential long distance runners to enter the London marathon ballot this month. Although many people are aware about charity 'golden bond' places, in reality these are mainly held by a small number of larger charities and there is huge competition for these places.

However, each year, over 40,000 runners still receive places through the ballot and those entrants can choose to run for the charity of their choice. But the timescale is tight and entries need to be in, through an entry form in Marathon News magazine, by October. The race itself takes place on 23 April 2006.

Jim Parrish has run two marathons for MRDF, raising nearly £3,000 in total. He says: 'Having seen the good use to which MRDF put my first marathon money in Addis Ababa by providing clean water and toilets in the townships, I was keen to help MRDF with another marathon. It's all about relief - MRDF uses the sponsorship money to relieve poverty - and I was relieved to get to the finish!'

Mamoun, aged 16, is one of the many children and young people who has benefited from the generosity of MRDF supporters and fundraisers over recent years. Seven years ago, he ran away from home, because he was beaten by his stepmother and had nowhere else to go apart from the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. A shelter for street children run by MRDF partner CSKS, gave him a safe place to stay where he learnt new skills and now he helps other street children to learn to read and write.

Marathon running is not the only way you can support the charity, as there are plenty of other activities that people can get sponsored for doing. 'We're delighted to regularly receive letters from churches, youth groups and individuals who have raised money by organising a sponsored event for MRDF. These have included cycle rides, sleep-outs and swims,' explained Sarah Hagger from MRDF's Supporter Relations Team, 'Not only do they make fantastic fundraisers for our overseas partners, but many people enjoy the challenge and the sense of achievement. Mostly recently, a group of walkers climbed Britain's three highest peaks with a Make Poverty History banner and to raise money for MRDF. We've now produced an information and fundraising sheet to help people make the most of their sponsored event, however big or small.'

If you are successful in the marathon ballot or are entering a different event, fundraising ideas, information sheets and sponsorship forms are available from: MRDF, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR or by calling 020 7467 5132. They are also available to download from www.mrdf.org.uk/give.htm

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