Going the distance for Earthwatch
The 2012 London Marathon is approaching fast. Our very own Man-Kei “MK” Tam, Regional Programme Manager for Earthwatch’s Hong Kong office, will be taking time out on April 22 during a visit to the UK to run – and raise funds - for Earthwatch.
Here he tells us why he’s decided to take on this challenge.
Have you run a marathon before?
I have run four marathons before. I find that it is a very good way for people to support a cause. Running is a very personal behaviour, and if you can find a way to connect this personal hobby to a wider community or wider public, it is a very good thing. Secondly I think if you can find a way to get people involved, so that they can learn more about organisations, then it could actually bring more people on board to protect the environment and to help Earthwatch to fulfil our mission.
What is your fastest time so far?
Well, my best timing was in last November in Osaka, Japan. I finished a full marathon in three hours and twelve minutes. I’m not a professional runner, but I decided to make myself a serious runner after my first marathon in Tokyo which was in 2009.
Do you hope to beat that time in London?
Yes! I’m now undergoing some very hard training.
How do you train?
Just like any other serious runners. I’d say I train about four days a week, which includes long distance training - starting from 20 kilometres (about 12.5 miles) to a maximum of 36 kilometres (about 22 miles) - and of course some core muscle exercise, and speed running. Normally it will take three or four months to prepare for a marathon, so I’ve been training since last December.
It sounds exhausting! Do you actually enjoy the running?
When you start a marathon you always don’t know if you can finish it, even if you’ve undergone some hard training because 26 miles is a long way, and you don’t know what will happen during the run. Sometimes your muscles hurt, sometimes you start to feel a stomach ache; all sorts of problems will arise. But I do enjoy running very much because it is a very personal accomplishment, and doing a marathon, you get a lot of cheers from the people watching, which, like caffeine, kick in and help me to finish a run. And this time I’m running with a mission – to run for Earthwatch – and that’s extra support, and extra fuel for my race.
What’s your favourite memory from long-distance running?
My best memory I think is the Osaka marathon from 2011. The organisers grouped charities into seven different categories, each represented by a different colour, which made a rainbow. Because last year there was an earthquake in Japan which caused a lot of disruption and casualties, the organisers decided to add disaster relief as an extra purpose of the run. I’m very happy to be one of the runners in London that can not only run for myself but also run for a community. And my extra hope is that I can finish it with a very a good time!
How much do you plan to raise for Earthwatch?
I hope to raise £1500. And I’m confident that I can make it. I hope to raise it from Earthwatch’s international network, and also through my friends. I hope to help people understand more about what I’m doing so that they can donate to support our organisation’s future. I will also try to write a blog if I’m not too tired after training!
Other than the London marathon, do you have any more sporting ambitions?
London is one of my milestones. I know it is a very popular and very famous marathon. After this, my next milestone, if I can do it, is the Boston marathon – which is also the location of our US Earthwatch office!
If you’d like to support Man-Kei, and help fund Earthwatch’s crucial environmental research, please make a donation at MK’s fundraising site.
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