Arriving in Bondi last September we just missed out on the annual August City2Surf race that takes place from the City centre, through the Eastern Suburbs, and finishing on the sand at Bondi Beach. It’s a 14km (8.7 miles) journey along what’s advertised as the World’s largest fun run. There will be entertainment stations on every corner, cheerleaders, DJs and dancers to help get you from A to Beach. This year, I am on the ball. I saw a small ad, in the local courier magazine, highlighting that the earlybird tickets for sign-up will close soon, so I got straight online and found out more about the event. As a non-runner, and someone who has an unexplainable resistance to running, I’d surprisingly rallied enough motivation to process the online forms and click ‘Register’.
I’m in. Runner #48988. Adam has also been collared into running (I did forewarn him that he’ll have to coach me along the way). Unperturbed, he quickly became runner #48989…cue our immediate search for colourfully printed running sneaks – promising everything short of running the race on my behalf. Purchase made; in ‘core black and sun glow’ for that added bit of fluro which you’d think would make me stand out amongst the masses, but no. You’re the odd one out if you’re not head to toe in florescent around here. A quick trip to the Nike outlet saw me leave with a pair of their ‘Pro’ active leggings and I’m one step closer to actually start training for this thing. The phrase reads ‘All the gear and no idea’, right? Well, that’s me.
The next search quickly became a discussion about which charity we could fundraise for. Wanting our efforts to show some precedence to our own lives we started researching charities linked to children’s participation in soccer hoping to find one that creates opportunities for individuals and communities to play sport in a fun and safe environment. There were a surprising number of options available to us, more than I had expected. A few that have won awards for their achievements and some that were smaller and still developing their own pathways. By chance that same evening Adam scrolled through Facebook and found a link to The Eamonn Morgan Trust – a charity set up by his friends and family in his memory. Adam first met Eamonn in 2012, when they both worked for Challenger Sports. Transitioning from fresh-faced newbies to seasoned veterans – they worked, travelled and sporadically bumped into one-another for a catch up. It was in June last year that we heard the news that Eamonn and his girlfriend Charlotte Sant tragically passed in a dune buggy accident in Qatar. The couple both worked for Challenger a few years prior to the accident and they continued their adventures together around the world. There’s a parallel of similarities that bridge Eamonn and Charlotte’s story to our own and it seems like a natural step to honour Adam’s friend and raise funds in their memory.
The focus of Eamonn’s trust is to support a Street Children’s Shelter in Zambia, in partnership with another Newry based charity ‘Friends of Africa’ – where children living on the streets can attend classes, play sport and learn skills that will help them to live on their own or reintegrate with their families. As well as the international projects, the trust also assists local sports clubs in the heart of the community where Eamonn grew up in Northern Ireland. So far they have sent first aid kits, clothes for all ages, baby foods, nappies, toiletries, medicine, sleeping bags, and toys to the shelter and have sponsored local teams with footballs, kits and training equipment to young Newry teams to motivate participation at a grassroots level.
With all of this in mind, we are eager to fundraise for children who wouldn’t otherwise be given the opportunity to learn and play the game in a safe environment, build relationships and share Eamonn’s enthusiasm for sport. We both share many mutual friends with Eamonn and Charlotte online and seeing the shockwaves of grief throughout our Challenger Sports community has shown us that we can try to build a positive from a negative, whilst also using the sport that connected us all to improve and create change for young players who are less fortunate than ourselves. After receiving the permission of Eamonn’s family and friends at the trust, we are excited and motivated to spread the word and start training!
We wanted to set a realistic target and have set ourselves a goal of $700AU / £350. With 14km ahead of us, it would be fantastic to know that as we complete each kilometre we have earned another $50 for charity. As Eamonn’s Trust is UK based, our funding will be raised in pounds sterling. If you can spare a dollar, pound, penny or cent to help us along the way we’d be very grateful for your contribution. Our target deadline will be race day, August 14th 2016.