Here at Impact, like all of you, we had a very different view of what 2020 was going to look like. By now we were meant to have wrapped up the inaugural Jordan Impact Marathon and deliver a challenge race in the Philippines (our first time embarking on an event in East Asia!) in partnership with Compassion UK, soon to be followed by Ethiopia and a return to Nepal for an exciting new Impact Marathon in one of our favourite countries and communities. However, just as the 2020 Guatemala Impact Marathon wrapped up, everything changed…
Just one week after our Impact Runners had all returned home, and before our national lockdowns had begun, the team was at the airport watching as flight after flight leaving, fully booked, and figuring out every possible route back home ourselves as the border closure was announced by the Guatemalan government. The experience confirmed to us that we wanted to move fast in preparing Impact Marathon for a near future of postponed events and work with our runners to handle this.
We feel a strong connection to our mission - to harness the power of running to uplift communities, empower runners, and catalyse positive change around the world. The team is made up of individuals who have left strong careers to follow this mission, this calling. The desire to reach out, to jump in and help now is stronger than ever. It is for this reason we have taken time to tackle the question of how to best to support our partners and host communities at this time, and the decision we ultimately reached.
We are sad to say that we have made the decision to postpone all 2020 Impact Marathons to 2021. All 2020 registrants have been notified and their places have been automatically transferred to the new dates for their respective races in 2021.
While the decision to not visit with our amazing communities and partners this year is a tough one to accept, it is simply the clear right decision for us to make. And one rooted in our love and care for the countries, the communities and our Impact Runners.
With the travel restrictions and quarantine requirements constantly changing, not only are we are finding planning a race to be very challenging, but this also puts our runners in an incredibly difficult position with regard to purchasing flights and insurance. It is not fair of us to ask our runners to bear this risk without sufficient certainty that we would be able to logistically or safely be able to go ahead with our events as planned.
Beyond the practicalities, we also have the responsibility of considering the best interests of our host countries and community members. Our mission is to catalyse real, lasting positive impact in communities across the world through the power of running. The infection rate in many of our host countries is increasing, putting an immense strain on the local healthcare systems and economies. In many cases as well, this strain triggers the early steps towards other serious and sustaining issues in our communities, including maintaining or widening inequalities across economic tiers and ethnic groups and lead to a rise in dangerous counter-measures such as child trafficking. While our events will not go ahead as initially planned this year, our mission remains -- and we are committed to working with and helping our charity partners and communities from afar.
This is why we will be returning to Guatemala, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi and Nepal as soon as it is not only possible but the right thing to do and the best way to support our partners.
In the meantime, the Impact Team has turned its focus for 2020 to preparing and executing new ideas that unite runners, companies, NGOs and the public sector. We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes starting with the new website, but going far deeper than we have been able to go since the early days of embarking on this journey in 2015. You’ll slowly start to see these changes in everything from how we deliver Impact, to our look, language, personnel. It’s not how we planned to spend 2020, but, in the years ahead, when we connect the dots backwards, we will see that it may very well be the best way we could have spent this year.
Our goal, now, is to go further than a virtual race and forge new opportunities for running to be used as a tool for development and empowerment.
You - the incredible people in the Impact Family - are what make Impact Marathons so special, and you are the drivers behind what we can achieve. Thank you for believing in this dream, and your support through a difficult time.
The Impact Family doing what we do best - empowering others at the first ever International Women’s Day in Tecpan, Guatemala with our partners SERES.