Why I run for Every Mother Counts?
Why am I a UK running ambassador for Every Mother Counts? (EMC), a USA based organisation dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe worldwide. I’m male, not married (but in a 4 year relationship), have no children yet, and fortunately haven’t had any family or close female friends experience life threatening complications during childbirth.
Well as its founder Christy Turlington Burns said to me when we were jogging together back in March 2016 “Everybody has a mother”. That moment has stuck with me ever since and has become my initial “go to” phrase when wanting to explain why men, as well as women, should be involved in Every Mother Counts’ great charity work.
“Everybody has a mother”Christy Turlington Burns
How did I hear about Every Mother Counts?
My own relationship with EMC started out after a brief Twitter conversation with Christy Turlington Burns back in late 2012. I was following a hashtag conversation regarding marathon running and couldn’t help but mention that my marathon running dad Roger had just run his 715th marathon (he’s now on 913) to which her reply was “He’s either crazy or super human”. Subsequently following a chance encounter at an event in central London 6 months later EMC offered me the opportunity to be part of their team to run in the 2013 New York City Marathon.
I’m actually running and raising funds for EMC!
Fast forward 14 months and I’m in Manhattan, wearing my EMC vest as I take on my 3rd marathon, and 1st of two NYC marathons for the charity; the second being just one year later in 2014. All this arising from just a single Tweet! This lead to one of my favourite photos at the top of this post. Here’s Christy, Alex, my mum Rosemary and me at the 20 mile point of the 2014 NYC marathon. Don’t get me wrong – I was extremely tired at this point. In the background is a hill and another aching 6 miles to go! That soon wiped the smile off my face. See my 26.2 tips for running the NYC marathon.
So from my very first interactions with ‘Every Mother Counts’ back in 2013 I had an instant affinity with the team. Firstly they are a small group of extremely committed staff and secondly they have a prominent and recognisable figurehead in the form of Christy; herself a dedicated marathon runner.
I’ve run for many different worthy charities before but the vibe I get from EMC is “different”. It has a real community feel to it. Many UK based ones have faceless CEOs hidden behind the scenes which doesn’t encourage you to fully buy in to the charities’ ethos. EMC also have a group of running ambassadors worldwide which creates a wonderful sense of belonging and purpose.
The next step then? – becoming an ambassador!
I got on so well with the team that in 2016 I become one of two UK running ambassadors, and one of over 50 worldwide. I primarily promote the charity’s work through my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts whenever I’m at a race. Whether that be me in my EMC vest, getting my marathon crazy dad to pose in a hoodie, or more recently encouraging my girlfriend Claire to wear one in races too.
In addition to this EMC invariably gets a mention when I’m writing a marathon related blog post like this one on 26.2 tips for running the Paris marathon.
Men can and should be supporting the charity too!
So back to fathers. A male ex-colleague of mine was reluctant to say the least when his long term partner announced she was pregnant. Although they were planning for it he didn’t expect they’d get pregnant so quickly! This time 3 years ago he would have had very little interest in babies, pregnancy and prams etc. etc. etc. Now with a 18 month old daughter it’s wonderful to see his outlook since she was born.
It’s funny how single events like that can change your priorities and interests in an instant. He wouldn’t now change it for the world. He’s shown an interest in EMC as well a complete interest in fatherhood in general. Even to the case that recently at a stag do (batchelor party) he was commenting on the baby changing facilities at the pub we were in. He gave a wry, embarrassed smile when he realised what he’d just said to a group of male strangers. The lovely thing was, most of them agreed!
I’m not a parent yet but seeing how the wonders of fatherhood can change a man’s outlook, the care that we all gave to the new family at the time and all the issues I’d never fully understood up until then makes me realise that men should have no qualms in being involved, supporting the cause and helping make the world a better place too.
In light of the many astounding bills going through in the US recently and the threat of the NHS (National Health Service) being sold off in the UK it’s now even more important for men to support the cause!
If you’re interested in supporting EMC then check out their comprehensive ‘what can I do?‘ page.