13 April 2004

Marathon a better day for the human race All Hallows Church service

To welcome in the Flora London Marathon, All Hallows by the Tower opens its doors on Saturday 17th April at 6pm and the President of the Methodist Conference Revd Dr Neil Richardson will give the address.

The annual service celebrates the personal dedication required for such an event and the gift of sponsorship which benefits thousands of people around the world.

Now in its 24th year, the London Marathon has become a national phenomenon for fundraising, having raised over £200 million since its inception, and as a carnival event is second only to Notting Hill in the capital s calendar.

Dr Richardson, running the marathon for Christian Aid s work in Sierra Leone, has raised almost £5000 so far. He will become the first ever leader of a British Christian church to run the marathon while holding office. The following is an excerpted preview of his All Hallows address:

Joining the human race is not as straightforward as it sounds. In one sense, of course, it s obvious: we did not choose to be here, but whether life has dealt us a good hand or bad, we are members of the human race from the starting-point to the finishing post. But we don t, however, always feel that we have joined something, that we are fellow stakeholders in a common enterprise.

There are times when we are conscious of human solidarity, and get a glimpse of what being human is all about. Tomorrow will be one such occasion. The London Marathon has become one of those occasions when you can feel you belong to something infinitely precious and important the human family. The extraordinary range of charities which will be displayed on the backs or the fronts of people s running vests, the remarkable range of people putting themselves through hell for good causes, not to mention the thousands encouraging from the sidelines all of that, I hope, will make tomorrow one of the human race s better days.

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