One of the unique attractions of working at Legatum is the philanthropic side to the organisation. The question I had was how do I become directly involved in something that is ultimately having a positive impact on other people’s lives, outside of my role within the Finance Team.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Peter Hallatt

One of the unique attractions of working at Legatum is the philanthropic side to the organisation. The question I had was how do I become directly involved in something that is ultimately having a positive impact on other people’s lives, outside of my role within the Finance Team. Inspired by the END Fund’s initiative, ‘Summit To See The End’, which my colleagues took part in in 2014, I thought about what I could do for an organisation like the Freedom Fund, which had captured my attention with its shocking statistics on modern slavery.

An estimated 36 million people, including women and children, are currently enslaved around the world, which is more than ever before. Many people think of slavery in a historical context but in fact it continues to exist in every country in the world. I felt compelled to do more. People who are trapped in modern day slavery are exploited and their freedom is denied for another’s gain. It takes many forms and is known by many names. Today’s slaves are trapped in fishing fleets and sweatshops, mines and brothels. It can be called human trafficking, forced labour, slavery, or it can refer to slavery-like practices that include debt bondage, forced marriage and the sale or exploitation of children.

In 2015 I set myself the challenge of running 12 marathons in 12 months to raise both funds and awareness for The Freedom Fund.

Although I come from an endurance sports background I am by no means a runner. In fact its my weakness and I’ve been described, repeatedly, as a fish out of water when running. However, running multiple marathons seemed the natural choice for the challenge, given everyone can relate to the struggle that a marathon entails. Running, to me, epitomises freedom. It is freedom for both the body and the mind, you can run as far or as fast as you like, going whichever direction takes your fancy, whilst letting your thoughts run free. However, this is not true for those who have had their liberties, a basic human right, taken away from them.

I am, of course, pleased to share that I completed all 12 marathons in 12 months. Considering only 75 percent of marathon entrants at the marathon majors make it to the start line, I am extremely happy with this result. More importantly, however, I have raised $100,939 and managed to highlight the causes and impact of modern slavery through social media publications and even on live radio.

Overall, I’ve raced 520km (Cape Town was a 56km ultramarathon), completed another 2000+km in training and flown 150,000km. I’ve raced in all kinds of conditions; be it the cold of Tokyo, heat of Atlantic City, rain in Rome, wind in Edinburgh and humidity of Bangkok. I have run in all terrain, from pancake flat Dubai and Atlantic City, to the hills of Cape Town and San Francisco. Although I have completed my challenge, there is a bigger challenge out there which is ending modern slavery, and there is still so much more that can be done for this issue. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, then I encourage you to check out the work of the Freedom Fund and see how you can get involved.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this challenge and those who have taken part alongside me. Having seen the progression of The Freedom Fund, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Nick Grono and his team, and know the money I raised will be allocated in the best way to achieve the largest impact. I would encourage others to have a think about what else they could do for those less fortunate than themselves, but I wouldn’t recommend running 12 marathons in 12 months!

Although I come from an endurance sports background I am by no means a runner. In fact its my weakness and I’ve been described, repeatedly, as a fish out of water when running. However, running multiple marathons seemed the natural choice for the challenge, given everyone can relate to the struggle that a marathon entails. Running, to me, epitomises freedom. It is freedom for both the body and the mind, you can run as far or as fast as you like, going whichever direction takes your fancy, whilst letting your thoughts run free. However, this is not true for those who have had their liberties, a basic human right, taken away from them.

I am, of course, pleased to share that I completed all 12 marathons in 12 months. Considering only 75 percent of marathon entrants at the marathon majors make it to the start line, I am extremely happy with this result. More importantly, however, I have raised $100,939 and managed to highlight the causes and impact of modern slavery through social media publications and even on live radio.

Overall, I’ve raced 520km (Cape Town was a 56km ultramarathon), completed another 2000+km in training and flown 150,000km. I’ve raced in all kinds of conditions; be it the cold of Tokyo, heat of Atlantic City, rain in Rome, wind in Edinburgh and humidity of Bangkok. I have run in all terrain, from pancake flat Dubai and Atlantic City, to the hills of Cape Town and San Francisco. Although I have completed my challenge, there is a bigger challenge out there which is ending modern slavery, and there is still so much more that can be done for this issue. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, then I encourage you to check out the work of the Freedom Fund and see how you can get involved.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this challenge and those who have taken part alongside me. Having seen the progression of The Freedom Fund, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Nick Grono and his team, and know the money I raised will be allocated in the best way to achieve the largest impact. I would encourage others to have a think about what else they could do for those less fortunate than themselves, but I wouldn’t recommend running 12 marathons in 12 months!

I have learned a lot throughout the year, firstly about modern day slavery and secondly about what it takes to do a challenge of this nature. Using my experiences, I have been able to put together a list to help others who are challenging themselves this year. Here are my seven tips for successfully achieving your goals:

1. BE PATIENT

A year is a long time. There were many points where I nearly had to give up on my challenge, like when I suffered a Grade II Soleus (calf) strain six weeks out from the first race. After the strain, is was difficult to get back into consistent training, which is key when preparing for a marathon. But I was patient and I never gave up on my goal.

2. BE FLEXIBLE

Things change and this is often out of your control. The São Paulo marathon which I was due to run suddenly moved forward five months, so I had to change to Plan B, being Buenos Aires. My last marathon in Chennai was cancelled five days before race day due to serious flooding so we had to switch to Dallas. I had to be continually flexible, and at the last minute, I was suddenly on a long haul flight to the US.

3. HAVE PERSEVERANCE

I’m not sure how many times I repeated cliché phrases such as ‘one foot in front of the other’ or ‘continuous forward progress’ but the monotonous nature of running requires it. When you get blisters, or worse still, you can see the colour of your shoes changing to red due to blood, you just have to keep going to the finish line.

4. LOSE THE PRIDE

How I felt on the start line or in training bore no resemblance to how I ended up racing. Your pride goes out the window. If you watch the finish of a marathon, you’ll be surprised at the different types of people finishing at the same time. My most embarrassing moment was likely vomiting on the boardwalk of Atlantic City in front of large crowds of casino patrons.

5. HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR

When all else fails, simply laugh. I laughed most when I saw the return of the ‘fashionable’ shell suit being worn in Tokyo. I also laughed at myself for thinking that if the professional runners run a marathon in 2.05 and weigh 50kg and I run a marathon in 4.10 at 100kg then we’re equal... right? Having a sense of humour got me through the toughest of times.

6. ENJOY THE CAMARADERIE

Whether it’s the people on the course, those at home or those in the office, I couldn’t have completed my goal without their support. It’s amazing the bond you can make and the encouragement you can gain with a stranger when you’re both suffering the same thing together.

7. LEARN WHAT MOTIVATES YOU

For me, there was always a bigger picture in mind when completing my goal. The challenge wasn’t about running, it was about freedom and those who didn’t have it. There’s always a dark place during a marathon, when you feel like you can’t run any longer, but it’s what you think about during these patches that matters. Knowing each marathon brought in more donations to those who need it inspired me to keep going.

This article was featured in What We're Reading, a weekly newsletter by Legatum. To receive future editions of What We're Reading, sign up here.

 


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