10k-for-10-yearsFresh from the success of the His/Her half marathon in February, Nuevas Esperanzas Director, Andrew Longley, floated the idea with the Nicaraguan team that a 10k run might be an appropriate way to celebrate our 10th birthday on 1st November. This may sound a simple thing, but in order to understand the enormity of what Andrew was suggesting, it is important to consider the cultural context.

In Nicaragua it is hot, and in León even hotter. By 9 o’clock in the morning the temperature is heading for 30 degrees centigrade. This is not running weather. Humidity can be high. And there may be no shade. The pavements are a patchwork of cement tiles, holes where manhole covers are missing, steps and slopes and slippery ceramic tiles. Clearly the safer option would be to run in the road… Although this comes with its own challenges; cement blocks (rather like cobbles) may be missing, a puddle may conceal a deep hole, cyclists do not always respect the one way system and there is no etiquette for giving runners a wide berth. It is not surprising then that runners are not often seen on the streets of León.

As if all this was not enough to put the team off accepting Andrew’s suggestion, there is also the foreigner vs Nicaraguan factor to keep in mind. So the determination of our team should not be taken lightly. One of our team even joked that foreigners run for exercise, but Nicaraguans probably only run when they have stolen something! Our team are about to prove this is not at all the case!

So it all the more surprising that ten members of the team have agreed to join Andrew and Jane in celebrating 10 years of Nuevas Esperanzas with a 10k run. Andrew may consider it ‘a walk in the park’ but the thoughts of the team tell a different story.

Team manager Arturo admits to having been inspired and slightly ashamed watching Andrew and Jane run their half marathon in February. He wondered if he could run too. Inspired by the cause, knowing what a difference funds raised will make to the communities where he enjoys working each day, he signed up and has started training.

Beekeeper and agricultural assistant Carlos had good resolutions about exercise routines at the start of the year but they were abandoned back in January so this seemed a good reason to get back to regular exercise. Getting fit is also his colleague Eliezer’s motivation.

Adolfo, our lawyer who also works on the tourism project, once heard it said that there’s a healthy mind inside a healthy body. Although he has often thought about ways to be at peace in his mind, he had not previously linked this with exercise. So he decided in order to try to get fit and healthy, lose a bit of weight and find some peace he would run. And if running can inspire people to donate to Nuevas Esperanzas’ projects then everyone wins and he says he will have to run more! Volunteer Megan confesses she always liked the idea of running, but never could find it within her to practice. When she heard about the challenge she thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to begin leading a healthier lifestyle for a great cause.

For our beekeeping specialist, Erika, and IT expert, Leo, their motivation lies in their commitment to Nuevas Esperanzas. Erika believes fundraising has to be a team effort. Nuevas Esperanzas is not just a place of work for her, rather a personal commitment. Leo has seen the way that the team attempt a seemingly impossible tasks such as building a pipeline across a canyon to carry arsenic free water and somehow succeed. He knows that running 10 km for him is a huge physical challenge with no guarantee he will manage it, but spurred on by Nuevas Esperanzas determination in their work he is willing to give it all he can.

Enrique, the longest serving member of our team, also signed up because of his commitment to the communities he has been working with for the last ten years. He sees how our projects in some way offer them new alternatives. Although it is not always easy, we do what we can to help them achieve their goals. Understanding the needs of the people he works with day by day has motivated Enrique to do his part in supporting them.

Inspiring words. Over the next few weeks we will share the team’s ups and downs in training with you as we build up to the big day on 1st November. The team need your encouragement and support. In order to meet our target and raise £10k, we are asking every one of you to help. As the team here prepare to run 10 kilometres for 10 years, would you please share our story with 10 people and ask each one to donate £10? If you are feeling really inspired, would you run 10k too? It does not have to be on 1st November, just commit to doing it, find friends to run with you and persuade people to sponsor you. It all counts! If everyone can do their little bit, together we will reach our goal on 1st November.


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