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Vicar to run epic 630-mile coastal challenge for Christian Aid

13 August 2014 - Running 24 marathons in just over two weeks would not be most people’s choice of summer break, but a Somerset vicar will be attempting just that when he sets off on a 630-mile run along the South West Coastal Path from Minehead to Poole via Land’s End at 6am on Thursday 14 August.

As holidaymakers sunbathe on the beaches below him the Revd Mike Haslam of North Petherton is resolved to run 1.72 marathons per day climbing almost the equivalent of Everest four times during his 16-day sponsored challenge for Christian Aid.

Father-of-four Mike, 42, Chaplain at Taunton Academy, who will be joined for part of the run by North Petherton friend and ‘fellow fool’ Steve Bratt, is no stranger to challenges. He has already climbed mountains and jumped out of a plane for the international aid and development charity – but this time he admits to feeling daunted.

He said: ‘This makes the skydive look easy, that was just one day, a matter of minutes, this is 16 days and the South West Coast Path is perhaps the longest and most challenging route in the country. 

‘It's certainly the biggest challenge I've ever attempted and when Steve and I added up the stats and realised completing the whole length involved climbing a total of 35,000m with an average daily distance of 45 miles, it is fair to say we wondered what we were taking on.

‘But it is so important to me to step up for those people who have no voice, who are trapped in poverty. We should all have dignity and the chance of a full life. The desperate humanitarian needs of people caught up in conflict in Gaza, Iraq and Syria and the work Christian Aid partners are doing to meet these needs will be uppermost in my mind as I run.

‘So I will be digging deep and my hope is that as people see us or hear about our crazy run that they will dig into their pockets too and help me reach my target of £3,000.’

The duo will be staying in a range of accommodation during the run, including at the homes of other Christian Aid supporters, with family, a church leader and at Youth Hostels, and Mike is also appealing for company during the run if anyone would like to join him.

He said: ‘Company is good. It definitely helps pass the miles. If anyone would like to join me for a stretch they are very welcome, especially if they can help raise funds for Christian Aid too!’

Christian Aid’s regional coordinator for Somerset Fiona Daborn said: ‘We have the greatest respect for Mike and Steve and what they are taking on this summer.

‘It is a phenomenal feat and it would be fantastic to see the people get behind them so that this run can bring hope and opportunity to as many of the world’s poorest people as possible.

To discover how Mike is faring each day follow him on Twitter @revmikehaslam #runrevrun, or to sponsor him visit https://www.justgiving.com/Mike-Haslam/   

Christian Aid is currently part of the DEC Gaza Emergency Appeal.

For further information, interviews or photo opportunities along the route contact Fiona via fdaborn@christian-aid.org or on 07854 652213. The national press office’s 24-hour press duty phone is 07850 242950.

If you would like further information please contact Joe Ware on 0207 523 2418. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change www.christianaid.org.uk/images/partnership-for-change-summary.pdf explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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