Bristol man runs 200 half-marathons for Syrian refugees

World Vision has mobilised its rapid response teams to assess the extent of yesterday’s deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala as the aid agency gears to provide urgent assistance to the most affected.

Hundreds of personnel from the police, aid workers and military have been deployed, organising evacuations and setting up temporary shelters. Rescuers are still trying to reach a number of villages and the death toll is expected to rise.

So far 25 people have been reported dead, over 3,000 evacuated; and scores hospitalised.

Jess Dinstl, World Vision UK’s emergency response manager said: “We are concerned by reports that children are among the dead. Our colleagues on the ground say that at least 20 people, including 12 children, have been hospitalised so far while the death toll is expected to rise.

“World Vision has also activated a rapid response team to establish how best we can support the affected whom we understand will be in their thousands. At the moment we are monitoring the situation to determine the status of families within areas we work in. Fuego has long been known to be one of Latin America's most active volcanoes but this is Guatemala's deadliest such event since 1902, when an eruption of the Santa Maria volcano killed thousands of people,” she added.

World Vision is also coordinating with the National System for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) to provide timely assistance to those in need.

The eruption has affected more than 1.7 million people, including 3,100 who were evacuated, according to CONRED.

The intensity of the eruption spewed rocks, ash and lava for more than 25 kilometres in villages across the country, destroying homes, crops and communication routes.

The La Aurora international airport, in Guatemala City, has also been closed due to the fall of fine ash. Meanwhile, authorities have urged people living near the volcano to evacuate immediately, as more eruptions are feared.

 

World Vision ambassador, Graham Grout, successfully completes super-human challenge of 200 half marathons in just over 200 days.

Graham started the colossal fundraising challenge - ‘Running from Aleppo’ - following a trip to Northern Greece where he volunteered in the Nea Kavala refugee camp.

Graham said, “During my trip to Greece in January I met hundreds of Syrian children and their families who were forced to flee their homes.

When I got back to Bristol I wanted to do something to raise awareness of this humanitarian crisis. I decided to raise money for two amazing charities that support refugees: World Vision and Help Refugees. That’s how the idea for Running from Aleppo was born.

- Graham Grout, World Vision ambassador

The immense 2, 601 mile run represents the distance from Aleppo (Syria) to the city of Bristol.

“I’m no Eddie Izzard,” said Grout. “I was more of a weekend runner when I started this challenge. I didn’t tell many people at first because I wasn’t sure I could even do it.

"I had three friends with me on the last run which felt special. I can’t believe I’ve actually done it. It’s still sinking in.”

Charlotte Tipping, from World Vision UK’s fundraising team said, “Graham’s achievement is incredible. I remember him calling me one cold morning in February to ask for a logo. That was 200 half marathons ago! Congratulations, and thank you for raising over £1,200 to help Syrian refugees.”

Graham had to work part-time in order to complete the challenge. His weekly schedule included ice baths and regular visits to the physiotherapist. In fact, the only thing that interfered with his training schedule was a biopsy early this year – thankfully it was benign.

Grout clocked-up the miles in and around Bristol, as well as participating in organized events around the country.

To support Running From Aleppo please visit: www.justgiving.com/companyteams/RunningFromAleppo