Hi, I am Emily, a 22-year-old biomedical postgraduate student from Gloucestershire. 11
months ago, I decided to take part in a challenge wherein I would run a mile every day for a
month to raise money for a charity supporting women and children in situations of abuse and
conflict. Before this time, I had never run before.
At school, I was always last in the 100m, and never showed any ability for cross country running. My only interest was horses, which didn’t involve running unless it was to retrieve an estranged horse after being thrown from it…! When I first started running for this challenge, I struggled – a lot! I could barely run 50m without severely struggling. I couldn’t understand, for the life of me, why anybody would choose to do such a thing with their time! Nonetheless, the challenge kept me going.
Gender equality -women’s rights in particular- is something I have long felt an immense passion for, even to the point that I totally changed my career direction from veterinary medicine to enable my contribution through working within the sector.
Women for Women International is a charity that holds a very special place in my heart.
Working with women survivors of conflict in numerous regions of the world, the organisation gives women the choice to enrol on their ‘Stronger Women Stronger Nations’ programme, in which the initiative is to empower women with the knowledge they need to make choices about their health, rights, and opportunities in education and careers. Their
work extends to that involving men in the progression of attitudes promoting gender equality and the advocation of exercising women’s rights in countries that it is most needed.
I have decided to run my first marathon in honour of Women for Women International, supporting their vital work in areas of conflict through raising a target of £600. This money would contribute to funding nearly three women through the Women for Women programme, providing their education, support, and empowerment. That is three more women in the
world with the opportunity to transmute adversity into power with which they contribute to themselves, their communities, and to future generations.
It is these amazing women that I think of when I run. When I was struggling at the start of my first challenge some 11 months ago, the thought that kept me going was the women for whomI was running. Maybe it was this, or the subsequent improvement in my fitness, but regardless, the more I ran, the more I enjoyed it. And so, when the challenge ended, I still ran. I didn’t stop, I kept running and I continued my routine with it. Before I knew it, I was running because I wanted to. I could have never imagined it, but for an active sport, running gave me stillness. It still does, to this day, provide me with space in which to sit with thoughts, or to enjoy the silence.
Sometimes I run and listen to an audiobook, sometimes music. Other times I run and simply take in the world around me, absorbing each sight, sound, and feeling with so much more intensity than I would otherwise experience. I now know this to be a form of meditation that I find particularly useful in times that my mind is busy. Running is a practice of freedom for me now, it is a time that I have for myself.
After several months of running in my local areas, pandemic restrictions lifted and I was able to take part in my first ever half marathon, courtesy of RunThrough. Held at Chepstow Racecourse, this was my first taste of what my upcoming marathon would be like. Even with an injury, I ran and was kept going by the cheers and friendly words of encouragement on my way around. RunThrough organisers, volunteers and racers wanted to be there on that day, with smiles, encouragement, and comradery in every person.
With the wonderful atmosphere and beautiful settings of RunThrough races, I look forward to continuing my marathon
training at their events, and for which I ask your support in donation to my fundraiser. I will be running all of these events wearing my Women for Women International t-shirt, so please do look out for me on the way round as I would be so grateful for your involvement in support of this incredible charity.
Keep on running, keep on supporting each other, and keep enjoying the brilliant events held by RunThrough!
The link to my JustGiving page is: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emily-redall