Friday, 18 March 2011

A message from Mara Yamauchi

Mara Yamauchi is not only one of the best British marathon runners (with a London Marathon victory under her belt) but the most distinguished alumna of the running club I have joined here in Oxford, the Headington Road Runners. She lives in Japan now, as she is married to Japanese national Shigetoshi Yamauchi. 
Last night she sent us in the HRR mailbox a message from Japan and for Japan, which I would like to reproduce here in its entirety. 

Dear Fellow Runners,

I’m sure you’ve been as horrified as I have about the scale of destruction and devastation going on in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami. Every day we see seemingly endless suffering and grief, but also incredible dignity and strength in the way the Japanese people are battling through this tragedy.

Here’s your chance to do something about it! You can dedicate one of your runs to helping Japan and donate the number of miles you run in pounds (or other currency) to the Red Cross Tsunami Appeal. You can do all this at:, a new fund-raising website set up by my friend, Martin Yelling, which I am supporting. And please let your fellow runners know, so we can raise a lot and support the disaster relief and reconstruction effort in Japan. I am currently injured so I’ve walked for Japan instead of running! So anyone out there who can’t or won’t run, please walk instead J!!

Best wishes & happy running!

I think this is a brilliant idea to help Japan in the way that we runners know best and love -running! I am going on my Run for Japan today! And I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Oxfam, Running and Japan

Wow. Sorry to start with an exclamation. But I can't believe it's been more than two months since I last wrote anything in my blog.

What happened is that I started working for the Oxfam Running Team, supporting runners who are running and fundraising for Oxfam. Supporting is a broad term and my work there is varied and ranges from writing weekly email newsletters to counting (!) and sending off running vests - and everything else in between.

I am totally new to the world of fundraising, even more so to fundraising through running, which is still sort of unheard of back in Greece. It can be stressful and requires a lot of hard work and resilience, but at the same time it is highly rewarding.

Because you know, at least in Oxfam, that for every 1 pound raised, 81 p goes to emergency, campaigning and development work (out of the rest, 11 p goes to running costs and 8 p used to generate future income).

And you know that the field workers out there rely on you to do all their good work, so you also have to give it all your best.

As you can tell, I am tremendously enjoying it and especially getting in touch with our Oxfam runners and seeing what is in their mind as they are counting down towards their races. They are doing amazing in their fundraising effort - coming up with creative ways to raise money and inspire friends, family, coworkers and even strangers, to sponsor them. Their resourcefulness never ceases to surprise me. Well done, you!

P.S. And as my mind is constantly in Japan's woes at the moment, Oxfam has also set up a Japan relief fund (see Oxfam Japan aid). In these times of crisis, a small donation is the least I can do to help.