Running for my sisters and brothers

Volunteer Jo Brown tells us about running her first 10k for CAFOD and what it taught her about life.

Jo and team complete 10k run

Jo (centre) and her CAFOD teammates complete their 10k challenge


Training for any run is a challenge, whether it’s the London Marathon or a 5k fun run. But what both of these runs have in common is that they are incredibly satisfying to complete.

Recently, my CAFOD friends and I took on the challenge of a sponsored 10k run. An event like this was a new experience for all of us, which made it so thrilling and exciting to get involved with. Once we completed the run, we were all incredibly proud of ourselves and what we had contributed to CAFOD.

Running or jogging provides an opportunity to focus on your own fitness and getting that ‘personal best’ at the same time as encouraging others to get involved, which is why runs are such energetic and inspiring events.

Personally, I have always found running to be the most difficult sport, as it really tests how far you can push yourself, physically and mentally. When running, it helps to have full focus of the path ahead of you and to decide on what you want to achieve and how you will do so. I was reflecting on this point and it occurred to me, that this very much ties in with our life journey.

If I take the example of the Vitality London 10,000 run, which my friends and I ran for CAFOD. I got to a point near the end of the run when I wanted to stop, when I felt like I had to walk or slow down. But then I spotted a fellow runner who was speed walking. I exclaimed to her, “You can do it; we are so close!”

With a smile on both of our tired faces, we started to jog together at the same pace. However, when we had just 1km to go, I started slowing down again and felt like the finish line was too far. I signalled to my wonderful running partner to go ahead, go on without me! But she completely refused saying, “No way, you helped pick me up, now it’s my turn to help you.” Just by hearing those words I was swiftly jogging on, both of us cheering each other along the way.

Now, the woman and I did not know each other but that just sums up how we should act towards one another, towards our fellow brothers and sisters, in life. It is amazing what you can do with a little encouragement and support when you need it. We all need it from time to time as it helps us to realise our own potential, our own satisfaction and ourselves. I feel that this is what CAFOD stands for, to help each other to flourish and to be as one family.


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