Announced towards the end of the end of last year, YUSU President Alex Urquhart is running the Manchester marathon on 8 March to raise money for IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Service, a York-based charity helping anyone affected by domestic abuse) and Action for Children (a national charity that supports children and young people affected by abuse, neglect, and socio-economic deprivation).
The two causes were voted by students to be YUSU Raising and Giving’s dedicated charities for this academic year. Urquhart is pledging for donations (via Just Giving, linked on the Facebook page ‘Alex Runs for RAG’) from across the community in order to reach his fundraising target of £2000.
His training so far has involved gym sessions with Laura Carruthers, the YUSU Sport President, and doing the 5k Saturday York parkrun on Heslington East. The marathon itself was described by Urquhart on the Just Giving page as “26 miles of blood, sweat, and tears in aid of RAG”. He continued his mission statement by saying that: “I want to do something that challenges me and tests me, but with a charitable benefit.”
Founded at York in 1991, RAG is student-led committee aiming to “provide exciting and adventurous activities that raise crucial awareness and valuable funds for local, national and international charities”. Furthermore, according to their website, RAG can help students with publicity materials and fundraising equipment. In 2016/17, YUSU RAG raised over £120 700, according to YUSU’s recently released yearly impact report.
When asked what he’d like to achieve, Urquhart said: “I’d like students to engage with the charities I’m fundraising for (IDAS and Action for Children). These charities were chosen by students but I hope my run improves awareness of that. I’d like to encourage more students to get active themselves, in whatever way they’d prefer. Taking the time to run or go the gym, even when I’m really busy, helps me clear my head and stay positive. Finally, I hope to inspire more people to fundraise. I never thought I’d do so much of it during my time at uni but it’s been a lot of fun and really rewarding. I’d also like to finish the race and hit my target of £2000! Any support would be really great!”