Two athletes who ran a gruelling 190km in 35 hours have succeeded in raising €40,000 to help fund migrants’ access to education, more than doubling their original target of €15,000 for 1Run 1Race.
Hospitality consultant Claudio Camilleri, 43, and CEO Patrick Tabone, 48, have been bowled over by the public’s enthusiasm, support and sponsorship they received to be able to donate every cent to the Education Support Programme for migrants, run by JRS and Kopin.
Still recovering from the punishing run around the islands’ coastlines in suffocating heat, Camilleri and Tabone are now urging on the public to be swayed by this infectious energy of hope to reach €50,000.
Donations will continue being collected until the end of August through www.1run.mt, and go towards enabling young migrants to access tuition, tablets, laptops, books, and cover examination fees, among others.
After resting their aching muscles and catching up on lost sleep, Camilleri and Tabone were this morning attempting to go through all the messages and emails sent by well-wishers.
The two athletes said it was this energy and enthusiasm that kept them focused during the most difficult moments of the run.
Camilleri said: “It was our turn to deliver on Saturday and Sunday. I felt I would let people down if I did not finish, even though I knew this was going to be a difficult challenge. I cannot thank our families and support team enough for keeping us motivated all the way.”
Tabone adds: “There was no way we were going to let the people down. We had found a cause we believed in, and more importantly one so many others believed in, and this was extremely motivating throughout.”
Discussing the toughest part and time period of the challenge, Camilleri said the second part of Gozo, where they faced constant elevation, rough terrain and very high temperatures, was the hardest bit.
For Tabone, the test came at 2.00 am when the athletes got badly off-track trying to climb up to Mnajdra and scaled an almost vertical wall in pitch darkness over loose rocks and boulders… only to find they were in the wrong place and had to go back down and do it all again.
“Thankfully we had two good friends with us who kept us positive. I personally got a bit overtired in Marsascala when I started pushing harder than I should… I discussed it with Claudio and we moderated our pace, with him even physically hauling me back when necessary.”
When energy flagged, the two athletes kept each other upbeat, and even though after all the hours of training they have heard each other’s stories all before, they still found something fresh to share, and when that failed, humour worked a treat.
Jumping into the sea to cool down was what Camilleri craved the most during the run, while Tabone was coveting ice and shade from the fierce sun.
Thankfully the runners, family and friends who joined along the way distracted them from these cravings and the idea that they were inching closer towards a cool shower and a good sleep kept their legs moving.
What is their message to all those who donated towards this cause?
“You guys rock. You have been crucial in supporting this cause and donating money towards it. I will never forget the support we received from so many people. Let’s now try to hit €50k,” Camilleri said.
Tabone added: “A massive thank you… with your support you created a little moment that was completely good and positive.”