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08 November 2011

Multiple marathons campaign

Multiple marathons campaign

Charity highlights continuing need to support the poor in financial crisis

Debt advice group Christians Against Poverty (CAP) are highlighting that now more than ever churches and organisations need to support those with little money - particularly in times of economic difficulty - through a mega marathon fundraising campaign.

CAP founder and international director John Kirkby is running 15 marathons in 15 days as part of the Remember the Poor campaign. He started his first marathon in Edinburgh this week and will end in Auckland, New Zealand, on 27 November.

"I'm doing this run to remind us all that no matter how bad things get for the majority of us, they are so much harder for people living with real poverty," says John, who founded CAP 15 years ago after financial problems of his own.

Speaking to Your Stories on the morning of the first marathon in Edinburgh on Tuesday, 8 November, John, who turned 50 in October, said: "I am acutely aware of the need for God in this. I have a sense of an impossible task physically and mentally but also a strong sense of belief. You need a reason to be doing something like this - my trainer has said 70 per cent of being able to do this is mental. The poor need us to do this. We have to do it. I've done 15,000 miles of training in marathons over the last year and 16 practice marathons in the last 15 weeks so I feel ready for the challenge."

The UK marathons take place in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Nottingham, London and Bradford; and then cities in Australia and New Zealand. The first marathon in Australia will start at 2.30am in Melbourne as soon as John steps off the plane.

"I am looking forward to seeing 60 new CAP debt centres that we will be able to open as a result of these marathons, and I am also looking forward to telling the broken people who can't feed their children and whose marriages are on their knees that someone can help them. That's what gets me going in the morning."

This week, the Association of Christian Financial Advisers  called for better new ethical criteria for banks in the light of continuing bonuses, and better ethical leadership within the financial system to stop the gap between rich and poor becoming even greater.

Dr Rosamund Thomas, director of the Centre for Business and Public Sector Ethics, said: "The whole world economy is put at risk if there is a widening gap between the rich and the poor and unethical behaviour in the financial industry.

"When you haven't got a lot to start with, it takes very little to throw your finances into crisis and it is up to all of us to make sure that even when times are hard, we don't give up helping those who struggle to achieve the most basic standard of living."

Adds John: "Remember the poor - in your giving and your services - the poor are the silent broken minority - it feels like no-one else is shouting out for them in these times of difficult economy. Jesus never forgot them and we must never either."

  • For John's progress and Remember the Poor twitter, facebook, blogs and podcasts see www.cap15.org
  • Christians Against Poverty run 190 debt help centres currently carrying £71m of clients' secondary debts