James and Valerie take on the Wachau Marathon and Nordic Walking Half-marathon

The concept of running for charity is well-known in the UK and the first thing people will usually ask when they hear you’re running a marathon is, “Who are you running for?” In Austria, though, when you ask someone if they’d like to sponsor you, you’ll more than likely be met with a blank face. Over the last few years, I’ve taken part in several Great North Runs in the UK for various charities close to my heart, so it’s been educational for me in terms of raising awareness for this kind of approach to fundraising, and I think our Austrian friends are now pretty used to me badgering them for money on a regular basis!

This year, Valerie and I now have the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for our own charity, MercyHome Freetown, by taking part in the Wachau Marathon (James) and Nordic Walking Half-marathon (Valerie) on Sunday, 23 September, 2018. We’re registered in Austria and Sierra Leone, and our sponsors, supporters and followers are international, coming from the USA, France, Germany, Austria, Spain and the UK. Our audience is growing, and taking part in a running event is a great way to raise even more awareness.

Why run for MercyHome Freetown?

I love running, but running for a reason gives you purpose. It goes beyond the obvious self-satisfaction of completing a challenging distance; raising valuable funds really does provide you with a purpose. And there is no greater motivation than having 15 children relying on you to raise money for their food, education, shelter and living costs.

Valerie and I are right now fundraising for next year’s rent on the children’s home in Waterloo. Our target is EUR 2,000, so it’s a big ask. But it’s a very personal cause, and we will do our best to get there. And even if we fall short of our ambitious target, simply taking part in a high-profile event like the Wachau Marathon provides a great opportunity to raise awareness for our cause. Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring MercyHome Freetown to public consciousness, decked out in our branded MercyHome Freetown t-shirts! And of course, during our fundraising efforts, we’re also highlighting our charity and its efforts to all of our friends, family and individuals who are backing us.

You, too, are welcome to join the “I run for MercyHome Freetown” team. If you’re taking part in a running event near you and would like to represent us, raise awareness and funds, drop us a line! We’d obviously be grateful, too, if you could spread the word. And don’t forget to visit our GoGetFunding page, where we are taking donations.

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