Methodist President to run the London Marathon for Christian Aid

On 18 April 2004, the Rev Dr Neil Richardson, President of theMethodist Conference, will run the Flora London Marathon in aid ofChristian Aid - and in doing so he will become the first leader ofa British Christian Church to run the premier sporting event whileholding office.

"I've run the London Marathon before in just over four hours andI'd like to try and beat that this year," said Dr Richardson, whois also aiming to raise substantial funds for Christian Aid's workin Sierra Leone.

Christian Aid has been working in Sierra Leone for many yearsand has a good working relationship with the Methodist Church ofSierra Leone. Joint projects include peace and reconciliation workin communities that have been affected by war.

In particular the focus of work is on training church leadersand community based animators who will then develop their ownprojects at grassroots level to educate people about their civicrights and responsibilities.

Dr Richardson ran the Leeds Marathon last year, clocking up a timeof 4 hours and 8 minutes. He has run the London Marathon fourtimes, most recently in 2000. In preparing for this year's event,he has invited church members to join him training during hispastoral visits across the country. When not pounding the streets,he is Superintendent Minister of the Leeds North East MethodistCircuit as well as being the current leader of Britain's 300,000Methodists.

On the eve of the London Marathon, Dr Richardson will preach ata Marathon Service at All Hallows Church, London. Anyone takingpart in the marathon is welcome to attend this service on Saturday17 April at 6pm.

If you would like to sponsor Neil please call 0207 496 1696or check out his where you cansponsor him online.marathonwebsite