Marianne Runs to the Beat

Ever been tempted to do something different in order to make a difference?  Read on….

13.1 miles, 17,000 runners moving to the music, getting grimey down in Greenwich, rocking round Royal Artillery Barracks and hip hopping down Ha Ha Road…..all part of London’s annual half-marathon Run To The Beat.

In a respectable 2 hours and 10 minutes, first-time half-marathon runner Marianne Neary, completed the course, wearing a CAFOD vest, running for East Africa.

I caught up with Marianne after the race to ask her how it went:

Best bit of the run was…..?

Coming down the hill by Greenwich observatory to the sound of “Sweet Caroline”!

Are you an experienced runner?

I wasn’t a runner. In fact I never understood why people ran as a hobby, legging it for the bus was enough tax on my coronaries. But I kept reading about the famine in East Africa and got so frustrated that governments weren’t doing enough, that one afternoon I contacted the CAFOD office and signed on for the challenge. With my knock knees and inability to stop talking, I’ll never be Paula Radcliffe but I found I really enjoy running and it’s even better when you can do it for a great cause.

Marianne with Kit from CAFOD’s Events Team

So why CAFOD?

I have great faith in CAFOD as a charity and organisation: it is renowned for its efficiency (has low administration costs) and donations go straight to the designated cause or project. As part of the global Caritas International Network (biggest development charity in world), CAFOD works with local partners in a particular country – local people – who liaise about needs and how best to support or set up a project. In this way, I have confidence that funds are implemented effectively at the front line of emergencies and in long term sustainable development projects.
I also admire the effectiveness of CAFOD’s campaigns on governments such as the recent and ongoing Climate Justice Campaign, which I’m particularly passionate about.

Your training regime,  how was it?

Ah, the optimistic training regime that we never quite manage. Well I only decided to do the run about 4 weeks beforehand when I was off on a research project in the Rocky Mountains. I often went out hiking but the longest prep run I did was only a 4.5 mile block… I hoped that the high altitude exposure would do the rest!

How did you feel after the run?

With the help of a trusty banana, I thought I’d got off lightly afterwards. I had an interview to become a Catholic Voice a couple hours after finishing so the adrenaline probably kept me going as I revised my notes on gay marriage! The next day was another matter as I had to hoist my legs out of bed, walk like John Wayne and nurse a headache that put my undergraduate hangovers to shame.

Next challenge?

The whole stonking London Marathon!

Marianne’s fundraising is fast approaching £700 on her Justgiving ( and it will go straight to alleviate the desperate situation in East Africa.

The places for the CAFOD London Marathon are being allocated in the very near future….who knows…..that next challenge could become a reality, then Marianne really will have to do some training!

Huge thanks Marianne for your gritty determination and strength of solidarity.  We love your crazy spirit.

Much respect from CAFOD Lancaster!  : )

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