A dad of two Berkhamsted secondary school students is running the Paris Marathon next month in a bid to raise sponsorship funds to equip the new sports hall currently under construction at Ashlyns School.
Russell Green, who has a son and daughter at the school, is aiming to beat the total of £2,000 he raised for a local charity when he ran the Virgin London Marathon in 2014 – and is also hoping the training he’s put in will bring him a new PB in the 26.2 mile challenge.
Green, director of corporate sales at the InterContinental Hotels Group in Bucks, said that he couldn’t think of a better cause to run for at this year’s Paris Marathon.
“I think we can all agree that we can be a healthier society, and that starts with easily accessible sports facilities,” he said.
“So what better than providing young students and residents of Berkhamsted with a safe and state-of-the-art facility to get fitter?”
At present, the school of 1,200 students has a 1930s gym facility with room for just one badminton court, and changing rooms are housed in a series of portables outside the main building.
I can honestly say that regular running has given me a new lease of life.Russell Green, director of corporate sales at the InterContinental Hotels Group
The new state-of-the-art building will boast a sports hall large enough for four courts and more, as well as a dance studio, a gym with 60 stations and four changing rooms.
Speaking from his own experience, Green said: “I can honestly say that regular running has given me a new lease of life.”
He began running less than three years ago, after realising that his high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise were a ‘perfect storm’ in the making.
That same year, Green’s company sponsored the London Olympic Games, and he was lucky enough to meet a range of ‘truly inspirational Olympians and Paralympians.’
“Their stories inspired me to take my running to the next level,” he said. “A dinner with Sebastian Coe sealed the deal and I was truly converted!”
Within the year, he’d won a place in the 2013 London Marathon, running the event for Urban Access – a Hemel Hempstead-based charity which helps children with social issues.
He’d hoped to run in London this year, but was unsuccessful in securing a place through the ballot so turned to Paris.
With the goal of raising £2,500, Green says he’s already raised more than £300 – a month before the gun goes off.
Green’s campaign is part of a wider initiative led by the parent-led Ashlyns School Association to raise a total of £60,000 for new kit.
This includes fitness equipment, nets, balls, mats and other items for the new £2 million sports hall, which is scheduled for completion in July.
The hall will provide top-notch indoor sports facilities for the school and the wider community, with access to the public in the evenings and on weekends.
The ASA ran a successful sponsorship drive earlier this month when it encouraged Ashlyns families to run in the Berkhamsted Five Mile Fun Run, raising more than £3,000 from the dozens of students, parents and staff who took part.
To donate to Green’s Ashlyns Sports Hall campaign, please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/russellrunsparis.