Just as the UK went into lockdown, Adam Campbell, from Magheramorne near Larne, was made redundant from his job as a marketing assistant in Edinburgh.
He decided to return home to Northern Ireland and take up the challenge of running 48 miles in 48 hours, in aid of Tearfund.
He said: “I realised that even though I had been made unemployed, and had to give up my flat in Edinburgh, I still had a home to go back to. I still had a bed to sleep on. And I still ate dinner every night. Not everyone in the world has that luxury, and especially with the pandemic, a lot of families live in extreme poverty and their lives will be affected all the more harshly for it.”
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Adam, 23, is relatively new to running - a university rower, he wanted to find another sport to get into.
“In fact, at the start of the year I set out with the aim to run 1,000 miles by the end of 2020. I had signed up for the Edinburgh Half-Marathon and planned to run the Great Scottish Run too. Then 2020 happened!”
Adam continued: “The runs in the middle of the night and early morning hours are definitely going to be the toughest. I’ve been watching and reading about other people doing this challenge and their experience of it.”
Enjoying both the physical and mental benefits of running, he had his eyes on a single distance challenge.
“I went down a rabbit hole online, learning about Ross Edgley’s Great British Swim, and Courtney Dauwalter’s Ultra Marathons. These people inspired me to find a challenge that would push me like nothing before. I found the 4/4/48 challenge online and it just lined up perfectly with what I was looking for in a running challenge. And the ridiculousness of it seemed a plausible enough reason to use the challenge as an opportunity to raise awareness for Tearfund and the work they do and make this challenge about something bigger than just me running.”
He hopes to raise £480 for Tearfund, which could help up to 160 families living in poverty to access essential sanitising products like soap and bleach powder, helping them to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
He added: “I have been a big fan of the work Tearfund do to bring people out of extreme poverty. I really want to do something that supports the amazing work that Tearfund do and hopefully offer any sort of help or support to the families and communities that Tearfund work with, particularly during this global pandemic.”
Gemma Brown, Tearfund’s NI acting director, said: “Maintaining a distance from others and practising good hand hygiene is a herculean task for many of the world’s poorest communities. We are very concerned about some of the poorest countries, where life is already difficult and there is little infrastructure to deal with coronavirus.
“This is why we are so grateful to Adam and others like him around Northern Ireland who are fundraising or donating to our coronavirus appeal: the generosity of the NI public is enabling us to carry out life-giving work amongst the world’s poorest communities.”
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, home to almost a million Rohingya, is the largest refugee camp in the world.
“Sanitation and hygiene facilities in the camp are already inadequate and the streets are narrow and crowded, so social distancing is extremely difficult, and currently there aren’t enough hand-washing facilities,” says Sudarshan Kodooru, Tearfund’s country director in Bangladesh.
“Tearfund is working both in the camps and in the host communities around, distributing leaflets about handwashing, distancing and recognising symptoms, and giving out hygiene kits containing soap, sanitiser and detergent powder, as well as installing 200 community washing facilities and giving food to those in quarantine.”
Rita Rani Bala and her family, who live in a village near the camp, survive on the very low income from her husband’s work as a street trader. The lockdown in Bangladesh halted not only his ability to work, but that of their nine neighbouring households, most of whom support themselves through day labour. Rita’s community has received hygiene kits from Tearfund’s local partner, along with information on how to use the items to keep themselves safe from coronavirus.
To make a donation in support of Tearfund’s work and support Adam’s running challenge, visit his Justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adamsrunorhalfmarathon
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