Mark’s ‘Run for Colombia’

A Ruddington running enthusiast is celebrating successfully completing a 129 mile solo challenge this month – to raise money for a project close to his heart which works with rural churches in some of the poorest parts of Colombia.

Mark Holden’s face will be familiar to regular attendees of both St Peter’s and Ruddington Baptist Churches – since he is their children, youth and family worker. However the Coronavirus pandemic has recently seen Mark furloughed – so he thought he’d use that extra time to do something positive for charity.

“I wanted to run the distance from the UK to Colombia but realised that, at 5239 miles, this would be impossible!” says Mark. “So, after some thought, I decided that the distance from my home in Ruddington to the airport to catch a flight to Colombia was a challenge that I could attempt. I started on 8th June and finished on Wednesday (24th), running between 8 and 10 miles each day to complete the 129 miles”.

Mark reveals he chose Latin Link because he served with them whilst living in Colombia. For several years he worked with the Vive Foundation– which is currently facing extra financial challenges due to COVID-19: “I was in Colombia from 2004-2006 then again from 2012-2017” explains Mark.  “I went to Colombia because I wanted to learn Spanish after university, and work in social projects, and Latin Link provided this opportunity. It was in 2011 that I met my wife Yancy. She is Colombian and was working with children on the same project that I joined.”

Mark Holden is pictured above in Columbia in 2012 (at the back with the yellow cap). Future wife Yancy can be seen front left in the white T-shirt and blue trousers.

The couple married in 2014 then, in 2017 shortly after the birth of their son Sam, they visited the UK: “I grew up in West Bridgford and my parents still live there. It was during this time that – as we were thinking about moving back to the UK – I saw the job advertised for a children, youth and family worker at St Peters and Ruddington Baptist churches. This work is similar to the work I was doing in Colombia although in a very different context. I applied and was successful and have been enjoying working and living in the village since then.”

At the time of publication, Mark’s fundraising run for the Vive Foundation has achieved £1,835 of his £2,000 target. He’s hoping with a final bit of help from readers he can reach that sponsorship goal: “The money will support children’s leaders in rural churches as they teach children. It will also cover the cost of developing and printing materials that can be used to support the work of churches.”

You can find Mark’s ‘Run for Columbia’ fundraising page >>HERE<<. Fingers crossed he’ll be back at work in our village soon.

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