13th Dec, 2017

Marathon Man completes epic marathon challenge for 'the gift of water'

Catherine Thompson 9th Oct, 2017 Updated: 11th Oct, 2017

A FUNDRAISER from Coventry known as ‘Marathon Man’ has given the gift of water to an African village after raising £20,000.

After Haroon Mota ran his first marathon for the Teenage Cancer Trust, he said he would never do it again.

But when the 31-year-old tragically lost his father four years ago, Haroon decided he would continue to run marathons in his dad’s memory – fundraising with the help of his Twitter campaign #runningfordad.

Haroon said: “We lost him quite tragically after a car accident. It’s only been a few years so it’s still very raw.

“Doing good for him in his memory helps take the pain away and it’s one of the reasons I like to run. My father always encouraged to do good, so I wish he was still here to see what I’m doing now. I’m sure he’d be very proud.”

And Haroon who has completed over 30 marathons since his first in 2012, decided on the ultimate challenge of completing four marathons in just three weeks.

Following a discussion with his staff team at at humanitarian charity Penny Appeal, the runner decided giving the gift of clean water would leave the best legacy. The village of Kanjabina had already written to the charity asking for support and so the team decided to answer its plea for help.

The money raised by Haroon and his supporters funded a solar water well and power centre, supplying electricity for the first time in the village’s history.

As well as water to drink, wash with and water crops, the village now has street lights and access points to the water supply thanks to a new pipeline.

And the Penny Appeal manager was recently invited to an inauguration at the new centre in the Gambian village where the entire community greeted him upon his arrival.

The marathon man described how the villagers danced, sung and celebrated to show their gratitude.

he added: “When I got there I was taken back by how desperate they were.

“Hearing their stories really humbled me. One elderly man told us how they would dream that maybe one day their offspring or grandchildren even would have a better life with access to clean water. Having the well and power centre was beyond their wildest dreams, and it will end many years of suffering.

And in recognition of his good deed, the humanitarian recently beat more than 30,000 fundraisers to be shortlisted for a JustGiving Life Changer Award along with two other finalists.

He said: “I feel very privileged and proud that people nominated me for this award. I’ve been fundraising for many years and knowing that I’m transforming lives is rewarding enough, but to win this award would be one of my proudest achievements.

“It will only motivate me to strive more because the world of poverty is still out there. I want to carry on helping the poor and needy for as long as I’m living.

“I’m reflecting back on every mile ran and every penny raised, knowing that I’ve made a huge difference. I’d do it all over again if I needed to.

Visit www.justgiving.com/awards/2017/voting to vote for Haroon by October 11.

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