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Five go running for Farm Africa

24 February 2017

In deepest, darkest February spare a thought for five ‘jogging farmers’ who have decided to take on the challenge of the Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time in support of Farm Africa and are out there braving all weathers.

Stuart Roberts, Adam Bedford, James Mills, Richard Potts, and Jamie Burrows are all in training for the biggest marathon in the world on 23 April.

Their aim is to raise £20,000 to help farmers across eastern Africa boost yields and build their links to high-value markets. 

They each have their own training regime and are at different stages but all say they started with a woeful lack of fitness. Stuart is training three times a week and is now up to running 14 of the required 26 miles. He has lost an incredible 10 stone in the process.

“I thought I was relatively fit before - farming is quite a physical job what with lifting and throwing things about but in running I’m using different muscles.”

Stuart has not yet had the runner’s epiphany that everyone told him he would have.

“Everyone said that I would get addicted to running and find a natural high, but I’m still waiting. I actually find running quite boring and tedious!”

Perhaps this is even more to Stuart’s credit! Running has however spurred him on to be generally more active, which he is enjoying and he has taken up riding his bike again.

The idea for the marathon began when Stuart and his friends were joking around. On hearing that the UK farmers ‘could‘ get larger subsidies after leaving the UK, Jamie Burrows remarked,” well we ‘could’ run a marathon……”

The idea took hold and when Richard, Adam and James all said they’d like to have a go at running the marathon, the ‘Jogging Farmers’ were born.

Stuart has had links with Farm Africa for years, having completed the London to Paris sponsored cycle ride for the charity in 2009.  He feels very strongly that Farm Africa’s approach is the right one. Trying to improve techniques so that farmers in Africa can feed themselves and their families is something that he believes in and one day he hopes to visit one of the projects that Farm Africa is running in eastern Africa.

Adam has also raised funds for Farm Africa when he went to Tanzania as part of the beehive building team in 2014. In just three days they were able to build an incredible 58 beehives, raising £14,000 in donations in the process.

At the moment Stuart is trying very hard not to injure himself after having read how many of the would-be runners never make it to the day. Stuart saw a ‘fun-run’ at this week’s National Farmers Union Conference as part of the training, not to mention a chance to provide evidence of his newfound fitness.  Here are the happy runners with Stuart at the front!

You can sponsor the Jogging Farmers here.