Mon 15 Apr 2024 Nick Kershaw

beyond the finish line: sustaining impact between marathon events


Over the years I’ve personally struggled in between events - when the adrenaline isn’t pumping, and the team is spread across the world. The daily emails and zoom calls just don’t hit the same way as our 7:7 meetings (7am & 7pm team meets we do each day during race week). However, the passion, the work, and the love for what we do has never changed no matter where I’m working from.

I want to offer a quick glimpse into what happens between the races and how we keep delivering on the impact created in a race week…so that the progress doesn’t end when the last runner crosses that beautiful finish line. Today is the perfect example. 

Continuous Impact: From Nepal and Beyond

Since the conclusion of our last event in Nepal, we've witnessed the power of persistent effort and community engagement. Thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts of our participants, we've managed to install five additional water filtration systems. Our goal for the 2023 event was 10 water filtration systems across 9 schools and 1 health centre outpost. These systems are crucial, providing clean drinking water and significantly improving the health and wellbeing of the communities involved. 

As our Impact Runners smashed their fundraising targets (we operate a ‘race target’ where each runners decides their own goal to hit), we were able to complete 5 systems during the race week, getting to see water flow before we even began race day. We have since continued funding the progress across the 5 extra locations. The work has been in partnership with SmartPaani who install, educate, and maintain filtration systems across the nation. When Impact Marathon ends, their work continues, and it is immensely powerful work.

Each week, we receive uplifting updates about new handovers, underscoring the ongoing nature of our projects. Moreover, we're ensuring there is also budget to include WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) programmes in all the schools we partner with. These programmes will educate all the students and staff on how to use the installed equipment but, perhaps more importantly, ensure general hygiene around the school and at home. The impact of these projects resonates across communities as children are never shy of educating their parents on bad practices! Just today, our leader in the Batase community, Sujan Tamang, met with SmartPaani to discuss the implementation of these programmes across the location. This meeting is a perfect example of how our projects are not one-off efforts but sustained initiatives that evolve with the community’s needs. Time zones mean that I regularly wake up to WhatsApp photos like the one in this blog, sharing the update. In the times when my own energy needs regular jolts between races, these messages uplift me significantly. 

The fact that whilst I was sleeping, the progress catalysed by our Impact Runners continues is just marvellous, that’s the word, marvellous!

Building Toward the Future

The Impact work continues to deliver from previous events, but looking forward, the journey doesn’t pause as we build towards our upcoming events. This November, we are excited to host two significant ventures: an Everest Base Camp expedition with Street Child as part of our Global Impact Challenges and our 7th Nepal Impact Marathon. The focus now shifts to the impact and logistics of these forthcoming events.

The preparations involve deep engagement with the local communities to identify the most impactful projects. We meticulously consider questions such as: What is the community seeking to achieve with us? Are these the most powerful uses of funds and time? How will we structure the budgets? These questions guide our planning process to ensure that our runners not only contribute to but elevate these projects. They also help us to shape the meaning of our next Impact race - without a deeply considered impact project, we are just a cool race…and there are loads of cool races in the world. We never set out to be that, we set out to create the most powerful races in the world. And that takes year round dedication. 

Engaging Runners Year-Round

Our runners are at the heart of our mission. Beyond participating in the races, they are integral to the year-long impact lifecycle. From planning stages through to project implementation and follow-up, our runners stay connected, informed, and involved. This ongoing engagement ensures that when they arrive at the starting line, they are fully aware of the significance of every step they take—not just for themselves, but for the community they are supporting.

This year-round dedication to development and impact is what makes each Impact Marathon not just a race, but a transformative experience that continues to resonate long after the runners have crossed the finish line and returned home.

Our communications after an event are just as important as our communications when looking to get a runner registered, or in the build-up to excite, inform, and drive the fundraising. After the flights have landed back home, after the adrenaline hit of a special event there is a space, an empty space, a sense of loss even. This space needs to be filled and, I’ve learnt the hard way, if I don’t continue to communicate and update on the community then something is lost - a connection just gets a little less defined. It is up to us to ensure those who join a race know that the impact of that pebble they dropped in the water is still creating ripples. This takes time. Sometimes the updates aren’t positive, this takes courage to share! Sometimes there are no updates, this takes perseverance to get news to share. 

Join Us on This Continuous Journey

Whether you're a returning runner or new to the Impact Marathon family, your involvement extends far beyond race week. You are a part of a continuous effort to bring about significant change in communities around the world. Every update, every meeting, and every project is a step toward greater impact, and you are with us at every stride.

Join the mailing list below to stay up to date with all our progress throughout the year!

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