Running the London Marathon for Fistula Patients

Ali is running the London Marathon for Hamlin

On Sunday, 3 October 2021, 50,000 runners will take part in one of the biggest marathons in the world, the London Marathon. This year marks the first time that two runners – Ali White and Mike Wood – will be taking on the race to raise funds for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia and obstetric fistula patients.

We caught up with Ali White, who is a long-standing supporter, volunteer, and Hamlin team member, to ask a few questions about her support, preparations and expectations for the London Marathon. This challenge marks Ali’s first attempt of a marathon and we look forward to cheering her on.

How long have you been running for?

I have always been sporty and have run to a greater or lesser extent for as long as I can remember. In 2019 I ran the London Half Marathon and it was such a great experience but since then I have never run farther than 21km (until now). Since then I have continued to run intermittently but hadn’t considered a marathon until this year. 

What made you decide to run the London Marathon for Hamlin?

The Hamlin fistula hospitals hold a special place in my heart. I first became aware of the charity growing up in Australia, then my school raised money for the charity and we also knitted the squares to be made into blankets for the women in Ethiopia. We learnt a lot about Dr Catherine Hamlin and her work as a result of this. I always thought it was an amazing story and a wonderful charity.

Fast forward 20 years and I am now involved in the organisation in Ethiopia in an advisory capacity, supporting the CEO and team in their strategic and operational improvement plans. I have been lucky enough to visit Ethiopia twice now and meet Catherine in February 2020 before she passed away and I will always cherish this moment. I had been toying with the idea of a fundraising challenge this year and when the opportunity presented itself, I thought, what better charity to run it for than Hamlin Fistula!

How is your London Marathon training going?

Training is going well. I have found it tricky in terms of the time commitment with the marathon being in October this year so training has fallen over the summer period, in addition I am also studying for my accountancy exams. However, I think I am doing okay and ultimately just want to finish on the day and be proud of the achievement – as opposed to run for a specific time. If I happened to miss a few runs whilst on holidays, I haven’t beaten myself up over it. Although, the runs I did in Lisbon a few weeks ago were really beautiful and its easier to run when you’re in the sun next to the beach.

What is your fundraising goal?

My goal is two fold – obviously I would like to raise at least the £2,000 target I set myself but I am also really keen to raise awareness of the charity here in the UK and also back in Australia. I think the charity is doing amazing work so anything I can do to push that out into my network, I will. 

What are you most excited about for the big marathon day?

I am most excited about the atmosphere and the experience. The London Marathon has been on my bucket list and something I wasn’t sure I would ever get the opportunity to do, so I will take it all in and enjoy the ride! 

We want to wish Ali and Mike the best of luck and thank them for their support for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia’s life-changing work.

You can support Ali by donating and leaving messages of encouragement here.

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