Every spring since 1981 has seen the return of one of the biggest sporting events in the UK: The London Marathon. Year after year, more than 40,000 people run the 26.2 miles (42.2km) route through the streets of London between Greenwich and the finishing line at Buckingham Palace, cheered on by enthusiastic crowds.
While the runners who sweat it out on the roads are the true heroes of the hour, the winners of the event have also always been the charities they support. More than £890 million has been raised since the race began in 1981! We are incredibly proud, excited and grateful that, this year, a very special friend of our organisation, Chris Irish, will run the London Marathon to raise funds for our flagship project, Hello World. Monika Hubbard interviewed him one week before the big day.
CHRIS AT THE HALF MARATHON IN CAMBRIDGE, MARCH 2018
Chris, you are a longstanding member of the Projects For All family. When and how did you first come across the organisation?
I was introduced to Projects For All by an old friend of mine who runs a recruitment firm. He used to give some of his and his staff’s time to help the organisation and, when they needed help with their independent examination for the charities commission, he recommended me. I met Katrin and loved what Projects For All was doing. Katrin’s enthusiasm was infectious and the team of Projects For All was very focused on what they wanted to achieve despite having very limited resources. Both comments still hold, but I am hoping to help in any way I can, to reduce the pressures from such limited funding.
You are currently preparing for this year’s London Marathon, which will take place on the 22nd of April. We are super proud and grateful that you are running for Hello World, our flagship project. Why Hello World?
The projects Projects For All is working on, especially Hello World, really resonate with me. I am a believer in giving people opportunities, and this initiative was the most scalable and efficient way I had heard, giving people access to both education and also communication, both of which could be used to drastically improve people’s lives, be they young or old.
How do you keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough, both in your job as a Senior Manager Strategy & Development at a large asset management firm in the City and while running?
Be it training for the marathon or work, I always try and turn the clock back and ask how things were a certain period of time ago. You soon realise that you’ve actually made a lot of progress since then and the fact you are getting demotivated about something in the short term is actually relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. For example, I may feel demotivated that I can’t keep a certain pace during an 18-mile training run. But, turn back the clock six months, and I wouldn’t have been able to run 18 miles, so I’m going the right way!
A NEW ADVENTURE: CHRIS AND HIS DAUGHTER
If you had one wish, what would you like to achieve this year besides beating your own best time in the Marathon?
I recently became a father for the first time so learning what being a parent entails and trying to keep my daughter in good health is top of the list. I also always make my new year’s resolutions things to achieve rather than give up. This year, the marathon excluded (and rather bizarrely), I wanted to (a) be able to touch my toes (I am woefully inflexible) and (b) go to the dentist (I hadn’t been for a number of years, which is inexcusable). I have managed (b) but don’t think I will ever manage (a)…
Thank you, Chris, for taking the time during your tough and tight training schedule to talk to us — and best of luck at the Marathon!
If you want to support Chris’ endeavour and Hello World, then please kindly donate here.