Here Rachael Bull explains just what it is about Love Support Unite Foundation that keeps her training for Brighton Marathon on wet and foggy mornings!
Positions for Brighton Marathon 2016 have now closed but we have some of the last remaining places for BM10K ~ an exciting 10K run taking place on the same day, April 17th! There’s still plenty of time to train for this manageable 10K race, check out our Event Page for more details.
Why I’m running the Brighton Marathon for Love Support Unite Foundation by Rachael Bull
In one month’s time I’ll be tackling 26.2 miles along the south coast, hopefully in a fit enough state to appreciate some spectacular views of the South Downs. My training for the Brighton Marathon started in earnest in the New Year, and two months in, 26.2 miles still feels like a very, very long way.
More than once while out on a long training run, when the lactic acid has really kicked in and my legs are crying out in pain, I’ve asked myself ‘What the hell am I doing?! I’m NEVER going to be able to run 26 miles!’
But then I think about why I’m doing it all in the first place. I’m doing it because I want to raise as much money as I possibly can for Love Support Unite Foundation. It’s that simple, really.
LSU holds a very special place in my heart, you see. My two old friends, the almighty sister duo that is Alice and Nina Pulford, founded the charity and I had the privilege of observing them in action out in Malawi late last year. Quite frankly, watching them work their magic left me in complete and utter awe. What these two girls have already achieved out there is nothing short of miracle work.
I’d been to Africa quite a few times before, but never to Malawi. According to the World Bank, Malawi is now the poorest country in the world. It’s one of the most densely populated countries, with c.16.5 million people, and more than 50% of these are below the poverty line, earning less than one dollar a day.
So as you can imagine, Nina and Alice and the rest of the LSU team have a one huge mountain to climb. But their determination and commitment to make things better for Malawian people is palpable. Every day is spent talking, negotiating, investigating, planning and discussing what the issues are, where the challenges lie and what the potential solutions might be. This is not a box ticking exercise. It is an unwavering, dogged defiance that things won’t stay the same… that they can and must change for the better.
They’ve already achieved so much, I can’t wait to see what the next 10, 20 and 30 years brings for LSU! You only have to spend three minutes with the girls at LSU’s Tilinanu Orphanage to grasp the charity’s life-changing support. I’d never visited an orphanage before and had preconceptions of it being a bit upsetting to see – young girls with no family and having already suffered so much hardship in such a poverty-stricken country. But the total opposite is true. These orphaned girls are genuinely happy – it’s almost fairylike. Their happiness and friendliness is infectious and it’s impossible not to feel joyful around them.
It’s like one big happy family at Tili. Thanks to LSU, these girls have a roof over their heads – a tin roof rather than straw so they actually keep dry overnight, unlike so many families in Malawi. Through their sponsors, they go to school every day, unlike many girls in Malawi. They sleep in bunk beds rather than on a stone floor. They get properly fed and have access to clean water from the bore hole. They have their own chickens and are growing vegetables and fruits, all part of Nina and Alice’s mission for the orphanage to become self-sustainable.
Then there’s the school that LSU are creating, with the aim that it will be Malawi’s first self-sustaining school. They’ve already built three classroom blocks, including one with the funds from dance act Rudimental’s sales of LSU’s Love Specs. The school continues to grow at pace and the surrounding fields are all being developed and the nearby community educated in more effective farming methods to enable them can grow their own crops and feed themselves, rather than buying maize and other foodstuff from other farmers. The hope is that, once they’ve got to grips with it, they’ll increase their yield enough to start selling surplus produce on and generate an income using their own land.
Aside from that, there’s the education plan to improve the quality of teaching, there are the micro-business loans LSU set up to help locals generate an income, there’s the medical clinic through which they’re helping different charities to link up and share resources and essentially, be more effective, more efficient and have more impact. The list goes on…
One thing that really impressed me about LSU is how they put the onus back on the local community to be proactive about making things better for themselves, rather than expecting LSU to sort it all out for them. Alice and Nina explore viable income sources so that the community can make the money to buy the resources themselves. As an example, they’ve recently built a bread oven that now services a thriving micro-enterprise.
So when I’m out on a training run in the delightful British rain, attempting to run up a horrible hill in the rolling countryside of Leicestershire, and I’m on the edge of talking myself out of the next 8 miles that I’d planned to do, I think back to my trip to Malawi. I remind myself of all the many, many lives that LSU are improving, thanks to sponsorship money and donations. And that keeps me going. They’ve already achieved so much – but there is still so much more they want to do. It’s a massive challenge and puts everything into perspective.
So that’s why I’m running the Brighton Marathon – it’s the least I could do!
LSU and I are hugely grateful for all donations towards my marathon effort, however big or small. If you’re able to sponsor me, please do so via my Just Giving Page.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Rachael for her giant heart and hard work!
Keep up to date with Rachael’s training this month on ~
If you’d like to run Brighton 10K for Love Support Unite Foundation April 17th 2016, please email firstname.lastname@example.org today. #YouAreLove