23 February 2004
Methodist President to run the London Marathon for Christian Aid
On 18 April 2004, the Rev Dr Neil Richardson, President of the Methodist Conference, will run the Flora London Marathon in aid of Christian Aid - and in doing so he will become the first leader of a British Christian Church to run the premier sporting event while holding office.
"I've run the London Marathon before in just over four hours and I'd like to try and beat that this year," said Dr Richardson, who is also aiming to raise substantial funds for Christian Aid's work in Sierra Leone.
Christian Aid has been working in Sierra Leone for many years and has a good working relationship with the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone. Joint projects include peace and reconciliation work in communities that have been affected by war.
In particular the focus of work is on training church leaders
and community based animators who will then develop their own
projects at grassroots level to educate people about their civic
rights and responsibilities.
Dr Richardson ran the Leeds Marathon last year, clocking up a time of 4 hours and 8 minutes. He has run the London Marathon four times, most recently in 2000. In preparing for this year's event, he has invited church members to join him training during his pastoral visits across the country. When not pounding the streets, he is Superintendent Minister of the Leeds North East Methodist Circuit as well as being the current leader of Britain's 300,000 Methodists.
On the eve of the London Marathon, Dr Richardson will preach at a Marathon Service at All Hallows Church, London. Anyone taking part in the marathon is welcome to attend this service on Saturday 17 April at 6pm.