How a 100 mile run in Italy will help a clinic in Malawi

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One man is embarking on a 100 mile ultramarathon from Rome to Assisi with one goal in mind: to help a community in the land-locked African country of Malawi.

Director of the St. Francis 100

The inaugural 100 mile race is to sponsor a medical clinic in the Diocese of Mzuzu in Malawi, so it's a Catholic medical clinic run by a few sisters from the Clarist congregation. They're from Kerala in India. So we're helping to buy them medicine, your basic medicines: azithromycin, lidocaine, you know things like that, especially one of the things that they're engaged in is neonatal care and delivery of children.

According to World Bank, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world with about 70% of the population living below the poverty line. Eamonn saw this run called The St. Francis 100 as his way of helping people in the country, despite being a self-proclaimed amateur long distance runner.

Director of the St. Francis 100

It's the start of something larger than just one event. I really want to create sustainbility within this model but also to help sponsor creative entreprenural ventures in the places where we're giving hand-outs because to just give hand-outs is really not enough. Over time, it actually harms and paternalizes. We really want to create businesses with parishes or dioceses where they can have a revenue stream over a long amount of time.

But it has not been all smooth sailing for The St. Francis 100. The preparation has taken about a year and included scouting out roads and trails and training for this exceptional distance.

Director of the St. Francis 100

When I first decided to run from Rome to Assisi, I put it into the internet and only months later that I realized it was mostly along very dangerous roads. So I had to pick and choose how to get there and I'm going through a lot of farm roads, backroads, country roads, unmarked or unnamed roads. So I hope I can navigate. I have a team to help me, but it's going to be a very interesting 24, 26, 28 hours.

Eamonn says The St. Francis 100 might be the first of many events as part of this idea for a new philanthrophy to help others in projects around the world.


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