3 days … 3 marathons … for Grace’s Netball Court in Malawi!
The last time I took part in a long-distance run was in 2002, at the summit of my athletic prime. The occasion was the Marlborough College inter-house steeplechase. I came a respectable 16th. The time has come to relive past glory, and to do so for the noblest of causes … for netball!
My sister Grace adored netball – she played Goal Attack in her school 1st VII. She was always a determined sportswoman; not long before she died in a car accident in 2009, her school created a special prize – the Most Improved Sportsperson Award – to reward her efforts. She was so proud of this achievement that she wouldn’t even rise to teasing about how bad she must have been to start with. Now she is to receive another truly remarkable honour – it’s the reason I’m doing this 79-mile ultramarathon along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.
My friend, Tom Bowden, co-founder of the charity ‘Building Malawi’, has pledged to build ‘Grace’s Netball Court’ in Lilongwe, Malawi. This will enable young underprivileged Malawian girls to have their very own netball court and enjoy everything that Grace so loved about being part of a team. Building Malawi has all the experience and expertise to make sure this project is sustainable and will last long into the future for the benefit of everyone involved. Grace’s Netball Court will be decorated with her artwork and will also be used for drama productions, a massive annual rock festival (www.lilongwelove.com), and as a place for girls to meet socially.
Grace was familiar with Building Malawi – she once raised money for it by doing a 24-hr fast (a huge challenge for someone with an appetite like hers) – and she really believed in the work they do. She would be amazed and overjoyed to know there is to be a netball court in Lilongwe named after her. Please check out the website (www.buildingmalawi.com) and PLEASE donate! Any amount at all will be gratefully received.
Three friends are also taking part: Ross Bruce, Mike Dunn and Ben ‘Stothard’ Watson. Mike and Stoth were with me motorbiking in Morocco when Grace died, and we’d seen Ross shortly before in Spain. This will be a huge challenge for all of us and it’s great to be doing it together!
Please contact me if you have any specific questions about the charity or the run.