Chris Coyle runs for CAFOD

When Chris Coyle from Rhyl, North Wales decided to run in the Royal Parks 1/2 Marathon in London on 7th October this year we asked him to tell us why he runs for CAFOD. This is what he said:

From as far back as I can remember our family have been involved with CAFOD so I heard about their projects from a very early age. They sent us literature about their various targets in underdeveloped countries and also about the emergency help whenever there was a famine or crisis. Therefore I was always well aware of what CAFOD were involved in and how they were trying to help to improve the lives and living standards of people who lived such different lives to us in the western world. We realised that by supporting CAFOD we were able to help in some small way to ease the burden for people, who through no fault of their own were struggling to survive. Since those early days I have had much more experience of what poverty and bad luck can do to devastate people’s lives. I have worked with the homeless in London and also worked in Vietnam, where I saw so much poverty. It didn’t seem fair to me why so many people had to live such poor and degrading lives.  Only by getting to know some of the homeless did I hear the stories of their past and how circumstances had reduced them to a life of poverty and dependency on others. Most of them were ashamed to have to live such miserable lives and wanted to be able to turn their lives around and start again. I wanted to be able to help those kinds of people.

I also realised that CAFOD works to help people to rebuild their lives in underdeveloped countries and to give them the opportunity to become independent and more in control of their own lives. They help them to grow their own crops and try to make sure that they have access to clean water, which is vital for their survival. My parents always made us aware of this through the Christmas World gifts, which we gave as presents to people for Christmas. We felt that we were buying certain articles which would help these people to improve their lives. When CAFOD wanted people to volunteer for the London half marathon I realised that I could use my running skills to raise money for their current projects. I enjoy running and do this most days for exercise so I am usually fully fit. I have run in three full marathons before and raised money for CAFOD as well as other charities. This time a half marathon around the London Parks seemed a good way to raise more money for CAFOD. The 7th October was a lovely day weather wise and along with another eleven thousand seven hundred people I took part in the race around Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James’ Park and Kensington Gardens. Everyone was there to raise money for different charities. It should have been easy for me to run these 20 Kms. but as I was suffering with a cold and chest infection I wasn’t able to complete it in the time which I would have liked. I managed to complete the race in one hour forty five minutes.

Beforehand CAFOD had sent me a comprehensive pack which helped me to set up a website for people to contribute online and also everything else which was needed for fundraising. CAFOD North Wales also sent me a “Good Luck” card, which I appreciated too. My parents did the fund raising in their Parish of St. Mary’s Rhyl, St. Beuno’s Spirituality Centre and amongst their relatives and friends. I am very grateful to all who supported me in this event and pleased that we managed to raise over £600 for CAFOD. I am surprised at the generosity of people who always seem to be willing to help my fundraising events, no matter how many times they are asked.

From everyone here in CAFOD North Wales we thank Chris for running for CAFOD, and to his family for their continued support also. Running is just one of the many ways that you can support CAFOD. If you would like to run, walk or generally support CAFOD we would love to here from you. You can contact the North Wales office by sending us an email- northwales@cafod.org.uk or calling on: 01978 355 084.

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