Wombleing down London Marathon way

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womble1An Oxford University student is gearing up to run the London Marathon later this month as a Womble of 1970s TV fame.

Nick Chan, a DPhil candidate in International Relations at St. Antony’s College, will be tackling the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon in a bid to raise £2,000 fundraising effort for the Jesuit Missions charity.

Chan commented: “I am excited to be fundraising for Jesuit Missions, which is a fantastic charity that supports the work of the Jesuits in the UK.

“To be tackling the London Marathon as a running Womble is certainly a daunting challenge – one that I am nervous about but looking forward to!

“Having run the London Marathon twice before as a ‘regular’ runner, I am looking forward to the atmosphere and support from the crowd – it will be needed more than ever this time around with the bulk and weight of the Womble costume!”

The marathon will take place less than a week after the double bomb explosion at the Boston marathon, although organisers remain confident that the London marathon will run safely and smoothly.

Nick Bitel, the London Marathon’s chief executive has commented: “We want to reassure our runners, spectators, volunteers and everyone connected with the event, that we are doing everything to ensure their safety and that the London Marathon is an outstanding success.”

The marathon course will take Chan on a tour of central London, past St Paul’s, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.  This tour, however, will not include a trip to Wimbeldon Common, the famous home of the Wombles.

The Wombles are fictional creatures which live in burrows and aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish in creative ways under the motto “Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish.”

Chan commented that despite the fact that “Wombles have faded from TV screens [they remain] an institution of the London Marathon course and it is exciting to be part of this running tradition as a member of the Jesuit Missions team.”

Christine Hobden, a DPhil student in Political Theory at Nuffield College, commented:  “I think Nick makes a fantastic Womble and I have been enjoying his Oxford Womble adventures on Facebook.

“He has been training hard, and despite the extra heat and bulk of his Womble-ness, I am confident he will finish, and will be there to cheer him on.  Jesuit Missions does great work, so while Nick’s decision to run as a Womble is a brave one, it is definitely for a worthy cause.”

The Jesuit Mission is the fundraising and development arm of the British Jesuits based in Wimbledon, South London and assists needy individuals both in the UK and abroad.

This funds raised this year will be going to destitute asylum seekers in London, a rehabilitation program for drug users in Guyana, and a secondary school for AIDS orphans in Kenya.

Edd de Quay, a first year Masters student in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at St Catz, expressed his confidence in Chan’s running ability.

“Nick will have no problem finishing,” he commented “he’s trained hard (sometimes with the Womble costume on), and definitely won’t give up until he crosses the line.  And the Womble suit is great, though I imagine it’s going to be hot.”


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