Moranbah local Robert Mann has taken up running at 62 years young, signing up to run in the McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival to help raise money for children in the slums of India.
Robert and Janine Mann moved to India from Australia in 2004 and settled in the city of Jaipur. There they created a community development project to help those who lived in the surrounding slum areas of the city.
“We moved to a city called Jaipur in India in 2004 and while we were there we started a slum development program,” said Mr Mann. “The flagship of that particular program is children’s education. And we started up a school and a series of classrooms there. Every year we’ve added a new class to the school. We’ve just had 2 lots of children graduate class 12.”
At the moment the school is located in temporary buildings and structures, something Mr Mann wishes to change through his fundraising efforts. The hope is to raise enough money to build a real school for the children.
Two years ago Mr Mann was visiting Townsville and was there to cheer on a friend who had entered the Running Festival on the strand. Having grown up in Townsville Mr Mann remembered running as a schoolboy in cross countries just up the road from where they sat.
“We went to see a friend of ours run in the marathon while we were visiting Townsville,” he said. “At that time I was 60 and wasn’t in any condition to run a marathon! So I set myself a goal of 2017 to run the marathon.”
“I used to run cross country with the school as a young buy, but now 47 years later it’s not as easy!”
Mr Mann set out to begin training for the 2017 Townsville Marathon and since then has worked his way up to complete 2 half marathons so far.
“I’ve run the 2 half marathons. I don’t know if I’ll be able to run the full marathon, but I’ll give it a go!”
After getting in fighting shape when most people would be looking to retire and take things easy Mr Mann has made his goal and has entered into the 2017 marathon at the McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival.
He’ll make the trip up to Townsville in August, hopefully with enough funds raised to build the school for the children in Jaipur.
“This is where I grew up and I’d like to come back and run a marathon and raise some money here.”
If you wish to donate to raise money for the Jaipur school visit http://globaldevelopmentgroup.org/
The 2017 McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival will be held on Sunday, 6 August. For more information, and to register, go to www.townsvillerunningfestival.com