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Running for change – The Royal Parks Half Marathon

Keen runner and m2m supporter, Ashleigh Jackman.

Ashleigh Jackman, 38, Events, Roadshow and Hospitality, Relationship Manager within Financial Services and Vice Chair m2m business advisory group, participated in London’s Royal Parks Half Marathon in October 2018. Completing her sixth half marathon, Ashleigh, and the other 20 runners who represented mothers2mothers (m2m), raised vital funds for our work. 

I was lucky to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 14th October thanks to a mothers2mothers charity place. I’ve been a runner for a while but can be pretty lazy when it comes to training so having an event in the diary means I get moving. Training during the summer months is great with the lovely long days – but it’s very tempting to enjoy a post-work picnic in the park instead! So, working towards a goal helped focus my best intentions. 

I’ve been involved with mothers2mothers for some time now. I was attracted to their work because I’ve lived in the UK for 15 years but was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa.  Due to these family connections, I still feel very close to the region. You could say my heart beats to an African drum!   

I know first-hand of some of the major issues in Africa.  Poverty and a lack of funding and resources for education and infrastructure means essential medical care just doesn’t reach the poorest and most vulnerable. Tragically this means that HIV transmission rates and related illnesses are so much higher in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world. We can sometimes take for granted just how fortunate we are in the UK to have a healthcare system such as the National Health Service.

Even the rain didn’t deter our runners!

The mothers2mothers Mentor Mother model helps to empower local African women living with HIV, through education and employment, to become role models to help other women and their families’ access essential services and medical care. This is something I feel passionate about, so the Royal Parks was a perfect opportunity to both fundraise and train. I do love a win-win!!  

Waking up on the morning of race day to pouring rain was less than ideal but I am so glad I did it! It’s such a great course. Running through Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Green Park, you get to take in some of the best London landmarks imaginable.  

The support was amazing.  Even in the awful weather crowds turned up to cheer on the 25,000 runners. About a mile into the course a spectator was holding a sign which read “Smile, people paid money to see you do this!”  It did make me smile – not just because someone paid me to do this but because there are thousands of mothers who are benefitting from the kindness of strangers and small gestures that can make a big impact!  It also reminded me that the fundraising is the real reason we do these crazy things on soggy Sundays!  It added a spring to my step and pushed me to do my level best – knowing I was doing this for a great cause.   

m2m’s very own Caitlin Palmer and Zoe Elliot smiling at the finish line.

I finished in a respectable 1.53.47 which may not impress the most seasoned runners but was quite the achievement for me! Smashing my charity target by 337% through the

generosity of friends, family and colleagues, not to mention my employer’s matched charity fundraising – just makes my sense of achievement that much sweeter!

These donations go a long way and make the world of difference to the people who need it most through mothers2mothers.   

Are you inspired by Ashleigh’s story? Do you think you would be up for a challengemothers2mothers is delighted to announce that we have ONE spot in the London Marathon 2019! We want to hear from YOU why you think you should run for mothers2mothers. Take part in one of Europe’s biggest marathons and run for m2m. Email a maximum of 100 words on why you would like our place to roisin.mcgovern@m2m.org. The lucky runner will be revealed on 9th November so stay tuned!  

 

 

 

 

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