Methodist charity appeals for marathon runners

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund is appealing forpotential long distance runners to enter the London marathon ballotthis month. Although many people are aware about charity 'goldenbond' places, in reality these are mainly held by a small number oflarger charities and there is huge competition for theseplaces.

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

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

Mamoun, aged 16, is one of the many children and young people whohas benefited from the generosity of MRDF supporters andfundraisers over recent years. Seven years ago, he ran away fromhome, because he was beaten by his stepmother and had nowhere elseto go apart from the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. A shelter forstreet children run by MRDF partner CSKS, gave him a safe place tostay where he learnt new skills and now he helps other streetchildren 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 getsponsored for doing. 'We're delighted to regularly receive lettersfrom churches, youth groups and individuals who have raised moneyby organising a sponsored event for MRDF. These have included cyclerides, sleep-outs and swims,' explained Sarah Hagger from MRDF'sSupporter Relations Team, 'Not only do they make fantasticfundraisers for our overseas partners, but many people enjoy thechallenge and the sense of achievement. Mostly recently, a group ofwalkers climbed Britain's three highest peaks with a Make PovertyHistory banner and to raise money for MRDF. We've now produced aninformation and fundraising sheet to help people make the most oftheir sponsored event, however big or small.'

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