On Sunday 28 February 2016, a team of 75 runners supporting Penny Appeal hit the streets of Coventry, pounding the pavements for over 13 miles to raise money to support refugees.
They took part in Coventry’s Half Marathon and far exceeded their fundraising targets, bringing in over an incredible £46,000 for Penny Appeal’s Refugee Emergency campaign. The money will go on to provide vital aid to those fleeing conflict, with the charity’s teams on the ground in places like Lebanon, Syria and Greece, delivering things such as nutritious food, warm clothes and hygiene kits.
Mergim Butaja, whose family fled from war-torn Kosovo when he was just seven years old, said the challenge was a way of showing solidarity with those in desperate need. He said: “Despite the setbacks during training and a few muscular pains at the start I was determined to finish the race. Jog, sprint, walk, hop, roll or crawl – I was going to finish!”
Throughout the winter, the team has been meeting up to train together, inspiring one another to try harder. Signing up is one thing but to commit to fundraising, then turning up on race day, takes a huge amount of courage and determination.
“Running Coventry’s Half Marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life!” said Samera Rehman.
Susie James agreed. “I’m so glad I said yes to this challenge!” she said, “I found out about an incredible charity, which does the most incredible things for the most vulnerable refugees. I challenged myself physically by running further than I ever have before — channelling every pain and injury into a focus on the task in hand: raising funds for those suffering much greater pains.”
The #TeamOrange volunteer family also hosted a special Cheer Station at mile 12, giving runners a bit of extra encouragement for the final mile. They handed out juicy oranges, donated by a generous sponsor, and made plenty of noise as the 5,000 runners made their way past. The new Penny Appeal bus was also present, giving supporters an insight into the charity’s work to help the poor and needy worldwide.
To join #TeamOrange or find out about upcoming challenges and volunteer activities, visit the Penny Appeal website.