Three Aberdeenshire runners have completed the first of two epic challenges to raise funds for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, a charity supporting disadvantaged children in Kenya.
The Mzungo Maniacs – Andrew Gordon and Sarah Simpson – accompanied by their friend Rod Wallace – have just run the length of the River Dee, from the source to the mouth, passing through Linn of Dee, Easter Balmoral, Aboyne and Banchory on the way. The trio started at 4.30pm on Saturday on the peak of Britain’s third highest mountain, Braeriach, and arrived back in Aberdeen late Monday afternoon – approximately 90 miles later.
At various points along the route they were supported by friends, family, charity supporters and members of other local running clubs, including the Fit Like Joggers, who welcomed them into Aberdeen. By the end of their efforts the trio had raised £2100 for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, which, according to Andrew Gordon, ‘was what it was all about – helping children in Kenya who have nothing’.
Later in the summer ‘the Mzungo Maniacs’ will be attempting to cross Scotland from its furthest west point at Ardamurchan Point back over to Aberdeen on the east, a total of 230 miles. While both the challenges push the runners to the limits – especially Andrew who is turning 50 this year – they feel it’s nothing compared to what the children in Kenya helped by the GEF have to deal with.
"It’s heart breaking to see the conditions some of these children have to live in and by sponsoring some of them, giving them access to food, shelter and education, we can hopefully help them get a proper start in life. The GEF does some amazing things helping these disadvantaged children get a start in life, providing shelter, clothing, education or sustainable food solutions which allows them to not only live their lives as children but to develop as adults.'
Scottish middle-distance runner Myles Edwards, founder of the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, told runABC Scotland: "The two challenges which our runners are undertaking are incredible. You know they’re gruelling when the shortest one is 90 miles! Andrew and Sarah have already supported us in so many ways, it really does mean the world to us that they are doing this as well.
"Their efforts are going to make a huge difference to our kids in Kenya. Currently there are 143 – out of the 278 – children who we support that do not have sponsors. The money raised will go towards their school fees and allow funds to be allocated the further 80 children we have on a waiting list for support."
Image courtesty of Gathimba Edwards Foundation