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Blisters for Beirut

21 October 2020, Impact of Our Work, Action for Change

How two Perth men helped save children in Beirut

“One foot in front of the other”. That’s how Marc and Gavin encouraged each other to run seven half marathons (147 kms) in seven days to raise money for Save the Children’s Beirut Appeal. After hearing about the tragedy with thousands left homeless, and kids seriously hurt, Marc and Gavin decided to do what they could to make a difference. 

“It’s flabbergasting the amount of poverty and how the hospitals there  have been overrun completely because of the economic crisis, the blasts and COVID-19,” says Marc.

For someone who only started running in January this year, Marc says it was a massive effort to take on.

“Whenever we were feeling down throughout the week, we’d just remember it’s for the children. We just kept putting one foot in front of each other. I’d be 50 metres behind Gavin and I can still hear him yelling it's for the children.”

Marc

Marc, a researcher, and Gavin, an engineer started running this year to keep fit. This fundraising journey, Marc says, was a good reminder to them both, about the challenges they set themselves and the challenges that face children at home and overseas. “It was exhausting. It was hot. It was very hard. I was sitting on ice packs all day at work. I would do yoga first thing in the morning just because I'd wake up and my muscles wouldn't want to move. And then the hardest part was having to function at work for a full seven days too. But it’s nothing compared to what some kids go through.”
 



Gavin (left) and Marc ran seven half marathons in seven days to raise money for the children of Beirut.
Photo: Supplied.

Bringing everyone along for the run

Marc and Gavin approached national burger chain Huxtaburger to get involved, as well as many close family, friends and work colleagues. 

Huxtaburger, as well as fueling Marc and Gavin up for their runs, committed to donating $1 from every Huxtaburger sold on Thursday 24 September to the Beirut Appeal. 

The team effort inspired Marc and encouraged him to go further in his fundraising. “For it to be as successful as it was, it was a team effort. It took a lot of people to come together; Abbey and Daniel from Huxtaburger, our girlfriends and work colleagues who supported financially and emotionally. I got quite a lot of the guys involved, so in the lead up to it, we would go for just two kilometers runs, just to keep the legs ticking over. People that came and got burgers with us, people that ran with us, could personally themselves feel like they were making a difference." 

The effort’s made him realise one or two people can make a huge difference in bringing a community together and making a difference for those less fortunate. “At first I took the position of what can you do? There's only so much one person can do. Turns out there's a lot that one person or two people can achieve. At the same time, I felt really good to be doing what I was doing. I felt like I was making a difference. I would come home and think about the fundraiser and what we can do for the fundraiser, about what content we can put on social media and all those things. And an added bonus was the fitness we got out of all the training. We can do a really good thing and have a lot of fun while doing it alongside raising money.”

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