British marathon stars Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi are leading the Run For Japan appeal aimed at bringing the global running community together to show solidarity and support for those affected by the recent earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear threat in Japan.
Radcliffe and Yamauchi have been joined by some of the biggest names in British running to launch the appeal for the British Red Cross Japanese Tsunami Appeal. World Marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe MBE kicked the campaign off with a run from her training base in Albuquerque and a personal donation.
Mara Yamauchi, the second fastest British woman marathon runner after Paula Radcliffe, worked at the British Embassy in Toyko for many years and married her Japanese husband Shige in 2002. She has run regularly in Japan over the last decade winning the Osaka Marathon in 2008 and in the same year finished third in the Tokyo International Women's Marathon.
Yamouchi said: "The scale of devastation in Japan caused by the earthquake is incomprehensible. Every day we see unbearable suffering and grief. It is heart-breaking to see such destruction. But we can support Japan in rebuilding. Japan is a nation of runners. From recreational runners to Olympic champions, Japanese people just love running. Through Run for Japan, we fellow runners in the UK and around the world can support Japan in recovering from this tragedy. So join me in lacing up your trainers. Let's Run for Japan!"
The Run for Japan concept is very simple. Starting today for four weeks, runners around the globe are being asked to dedicate just one run to the people of Japan and donate at least one unit of their home currency for every mile that they run. Runforjapan.com will record a visual portrait of this global project as it grows over time. Runners making their donation online via the website are invited to upload of a picture of themselves in action during their run. The website will create in real time an ongoing representation of all those who have taken part in the project across the globe.
Paralympic Games gold medallist Noel Thatcher explains: "Like everyone who witnessed the devastation, I felt helpless and deeply saddened by the tragedy in Japan. I trained there for many years. At the same time I am, as always, humbled by the courage and dignity of those who survived. As runners we can help, one step at a time, to begin the marathon journey of rebuilding and recovering. Please run with me, Run for Japan and upload your image to join what will hopefully be a cast of thousands."
Paula Radcliffe added: "Like so many, I was horrified, shocked and moved beyond words by the devastation, loss and suffering in Japan, I have been searching for ways to help and support. 'Run for Japan' is such an easy way to do something and I know the running community will come together brilliantly in support for the people of Japan. Please get your trainers on, get out there and run many, many miles to support."
Find out more about the Run for Japan initiative at the appeal's dedicated website.