Miracle Marathon Effort for Methodist charity

This year, experience meets optimism as two very different runners take on the London Marathon for the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF). However different, both runners have the same aim: to help make 'small miracles' possible in some world's poorest countries.

MRDF's first runner is an expert: Jim Parrish, member of Baildon Methodist Church in West Yorkshire will be running his 10th marathon this year. Jim says: 'I've promised my wife this will be the last one. At the age of 70 she thinks it's time I retired from running. I'm aiming to complete the course within 5 hours and to show everyone on 22 April that experience goes a long way!'

In contrast, Val Lovett will be running her first marathon this year. She is optimistic that she'll stay the course, but explains: 'No one who knows me would expect me to be running this marathon and I have found the training pretty taxing.'

Val works for MAYC, which supports activities for young people in the Methodist Church, and is running to improve opportunities for young people in some of the world's poorest countries. 'With the money that I raise, MRDF will help children and young people to achieve things that we often take for granted in the UK: attending school, staying healthy and learning the skills that they need to flourish in the future.'

Jim, who worked for 30 years in Africa, is raising money through MRDF to help people living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi. The money that he raises will enable orphaned and unemployed young people to support themselves through keeping cows and chickens.

Both runners are still looking for sponsors and can be sponsored via www.justgiving.com/mrdf/raisemoney.

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