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Citizens run, swim, cycle for 24hr marathon benefitting local children

By Camille Dupire - Oct 23,2018 - Last updated at Oct 23,2018

British Ambassador Edward Oakden and Jordanian citizen Yazan Kakish take part in the last running leg of the 24-hour sports charity event in Amman recently (Photo courtesy of the British embassy)

AMMAN — While going for his daily run around the Bayader neighbourhood in west Amman, British citizen Ben Rudi started noticing the laughter and smiles of young children living in the area and became curious to know where this happiness came from.

He asked around, only to find out they were beneficiaries of two local charities taking care of underprivileged children. 

“I got to know some of the people running the charity, who showed me what they were doing and how it helped the children who were always beaming despite their difficult situation,” Rudi told The Jordan Times on Tuesday, stressing that “it was clearly the result of the care that they were receiving so I decided to help raise funds for these charities and others doing similar work”.

The young man approached the British embassy’s staff to raise awareness about his charity idea, and gathered the support of a number of his colleagues. “Once we began organising the event, it became apparent that lots of people were interested in supporting us, even if they were not very fit,” recalled Rudi, a dedicated athlete himself.

“People who couldn’t swim were volunteering to swim. People who hadn’t run since school were volunteering to run: People just wanted to be involved in this project,” the British man remembered, noting that a total of 51 volunteers took part in the triathlon.

The selfless initiative even got the attention of Edward Oakden, the British ambassador in Amman, who took part in the last running leg of the 24-hour sporting event, alongside Jordanian citizen Yazan Kakish.

“The embassy team was both delighted and honoured to be able to offer some support to the children’s home as we deeply respect and salute all those running this wonderful cause over so many years,” Oakden told The Jordan Times after the event, adding that “we also enjoyed getting some varied exercise at the same time!”

Broken into six periods of four hours in accordance with the traditional triathlon sequence of swimming, running and cycling, the event had two people working at all times so “they could motivate each other through the harder times”, according to Rudi. 

“We had people running throughout the middle of the night and people swimming in the outdoor pool between 3am and 7am,” he noted, highlighting how “humbling the whole experience was”.

“It is really not that much to ask from people and anyone can participate. Besides, it is a really nice community event that breaks the barriers between people coming from such different backgrounds and walks of life,” the organiser said, noting that “everyone worked together to get through the challenge, with couples coming with their families, to rotate their triathlon leg while others looked after their children”. 

For Kakish, “the main reason for partaking in the triathlon was to raise essential funds that would support the charity and ultimately the children”.

“As a Jordanian working hand-in-hand with my expat friends, I felt delighted that we were able to enrich people's lives and support our community and a cause that is dear to my heart as well,” he told The Jordan Times after the triathlon.

So far, the initiative has raised approximately JD1,600, according to Rudi, who said that the amount will be equally split between the two charities he visited before the event. 

Expressing his gratefulness for “everyone’s support”, Rudi voiced hope to see this charity triathlon turn into an annual embassy event.

People willing to contribute to the cause can access the crowd funding page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/everyjodcounts. 

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