FOUR teachers from King’s Ely are taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise funds for poverty-stricken families in East Africa.

Richard Oliver, Alison Stewart, Amanda Kippax and Claire Kyndt, who are all members of teaching staff at King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior, are taking on the Uganda Marathon on June 2nd.

The gruelling challenge will see the team, which includes Richard’s wife, Niki, joining thousands of participants from around the world, around 3,000 of whom will be from Uganda itself, to take on the 26.2 mile course through beautiful yet remote, hard-baked tracks in the equatorial heat.

In the week leading up to the race, the intrepid teachers will also be taking part in a variety of local voluntary based projects in Uganda, including a school sports day to support the UN’s Global Goal initiative. Despite huge progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, Uganda has suffered hugely from conflict. Around 6.7 million Ugandans still live in poverty and a further 14.7 million are vulnerable. Access to health and education remains inconsistent with life expectancy at 54 years.

Miss Stewart, who is Year 12 Academic Coordinator and Teacher of Biology at King’s Ely Senior, said: “My two favourite pastimes are running and travelling, however I am aware that my sport, which has taken up hours of my life, is a little selfish. When Richard casually mentioned the Uganda Marathon last summer, I eagerly checked out the event website and realised that this was a project not to be missed on so many levels. The opportunity to be involved in raising money for, and then visiting the projects we support first hand, seemed like a fairly unique set up. The groups that the Uganda Marathon supports are so varied and so worthwhile that I am hoping we can make a real difference to the community. The added bonus is that I get to have my first taste of East Africa, and run 26.2 miles at altitude over some unforgiving hills on the Equator. I can’t wait!”

Thanks to the generosity of family, friends and colleagues, as well as lots of fundraising activities held in school, the team have raised a whopping £11,730 so far. However, their aim is to raise at least £16,000. They have also collected dozens of pairs of unwanted trainers and running shoes to give to Ugandan runners out there so that they do not have to do the race barefoot.

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