This Friday – Valentine’s Day – I’m going to start a multi-day fundraising run across England. You may have read a few of my previous blog posts about it, but if not, here’s the scoop. The plan is to run on average a marathon a day for thirteen days in a row starting in my hometown of Darlington in northeast England and finishing on the south coast near Southampton. The trip is both a celebration of the 100th anniversary of an historic voyage, the 1914 Mana Expedition to Easter Island and an environmental awareness campaign.
Onboard the 1914 Mana Expedition to Easter Island was one woman, Katherine Routlegde. Katherine was born into a close-knit Quaker community in Darlington, but graduated from Oxford University, which was rare for a Victorian woman. The Easter Island expedition was planned with her husband William, and they set sail from Southampton, England onboard a custom built wooden schooner named Mana. The voyage took over a year, but once on the island Katherine spent many months conducting research. Upon return to England Katherine published the popular book: ‘The Mystery of Easter Island’.
The 2014 trip, or ‘runpedition’, starts from my former high school in Darlington. The current cross-country team plus a few members of the town’s running club will be kindly accompanying me out of town as I begin the first leg running south. The run will finish on February 26th at the Jolly Sailor Pub in the village of Bursledon outside Southampton, coincidentally close to the village where Katherine and William lived whilst the Mana was being built.
The environmental message is one of clean water. As I run, I’ll be fundraising towards the purchase of a special sewage-digesting unit for the island – a BioMax. The BioMax has been designed to process sewage and produce grey-water that can then be used in gardens and outdoors – lowering the demand on tapped water supplies. Rapa Nui has a burgeoning population and pressure on its freshwater aquifer is leading to renewed calls for waste management improvements. The BioMax unit will be an example of how small steps can be taken by households and businesses to lower their draw on the water supply.
But there is a way you can join in! Yes – how can I not do this event without including readers, the running & yoga communities, plus the flock and run-tastic members of Team Oiselle! In the spirit of #runlove, and also because the runpedition starts on February 14th, it would be wonderful to have some virtual support! Over the course of the next two weeks from Feb 14-28th, when you have time, I encourage you to try a #runpedition! Here’s how it works: run from A to B. Simple. Many of you already do that everyday I am sure, either running to and from work, school or maybe the gym! But have a go, get creative – and in even in the midst of winter let’s share a little #runlove and use our legs and feet to get around! I’d love to see your comments, tweets and photos shared on social media – and using the hashtag #runpedition will help to spread the word! At the end of the month a lucky #runpedition person will be selected, at random, for a fabulous Oiselle prize (oh la la)… a #runlove Tshirt!!
‘Running after Routledge’ will continue after Southampton and you can follow it’s progress via links on this website. To retrace as much of the original route of the Mana Expedition as possible, I will be making my way to Rapa Nui in time for the island’s annual marathon, June 1st. But there is the small issue of that oh-so-inconvenient landmass – South America – that the Mana Expedition sailed around. It looks like I’ll be cycling across it instead – watch this space. My overall aim is to simply celebrate the achievements of an incredible woman from Darlington, survive thirteen days of long runs, do lots of fundraising, and make it to Rapa Nui for the marathon! If Katherine Routledge survived the Mana Expedition and one hundred and fourteen days at sea, I can at least help to continue the story by doing something I love to do: run.
Can’t wait to hear about your #runpeditions!
Happy Trails, Susie.