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First-time marathon runner raises money for communities both home and away

A first-time marathon runner has raised over £1000 for charity by taking on an incredible fitness challenge to support fragile communities in the UK and overseas.

Alexandra Molton set herself the ultimate challenge of running a marathon with just three weeks training to raise money for CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and The Big Help Project.

Alex, from Southport, decided to take on the challenge after starting work at The Big Help Project last year and also signing up as a volunteer for CAFOD.

The 23-year-old said: “I was in awe of the amazing work The Big Help Project have been doing for the past 10 years and the wrap-around services they provide to ensure struggling families and individuals don’t go hungry, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am also very interested in international development and support the work CAFOD do to further this in overseas communities.”

Describing her three-week training regime as “intense”, Alex took on her marathon challenge on Thursday 18th February, completing it in just four hours and 19 minutes.

She said: “The marathon itself was a mixed bag of emotions; the first half felt incredible, like I was on cloud nine - no aches and I was consistent with my minute miles. However, from around 16 miles, the back of my legs really began to hurt, along with my knees.

“I got quite emotional. It was a mental as well as a physical battle but every time I felt like stopping or giving up, I thought about all the people that had taken the time to donate, the kind words I received from everyone, the support of my mum and boyfriend who ran part of the way with me, and the difference the money would make to those in need. So, I kept going.”

However, Alex’s challenge is far from over as she joins people across England and Wales in doing 10,000 steps a day as part of CAFOD’s Walk for Water challenge.

The money raised throughout the Lenten season will contribute to the work of overseas development charity, CAFOD, by helping communities access water, as well as providing appropriate tools and training to maintain this vital life source.

Wanting to raise awareness of issues surrounding water availability, Alex said: “I think access to water is something many people think is a problem of the past due to years' worth of campaigns driving the same issue, but what we have to remember is that the world is a big place and not everyone is at that point yet.”

So far, Alex has raised an incredible £1,059.50 for the two charities and with weeks still left of her challenge, she is hoping to raise even more to support those most in need.

She said: “Running a marathon was hard, but spending hours every day walking miles for water and being deprived of food for you and your family is even harder, so please take the time to share and donate to my page, or even set up your own fundraiser!”

CAFOD’s local representative for the Merseyside area, Siobhan Farnell concludes:

"It is so inspiring to hear Alex’s story, CAFOD says a big thank you to her and the thousands of supporters who are embarking on their 'Walk for Water' challenge. This Lent they will be transforming lives.     

 “We will be working with local aid experts and communities to find the best solutions in each place where we work – whether it’s a well, piped system or rain harvesting.   

“Coordinating sanitation and hygiene training will also be a part of this work, as well as setting up local water committees, allowing communities to take ownership and keep the water flowing.       

“Our years of knowledge and the experience of local aid workers tell us, that when families have availability to clean, safe water, people’s lives can be transformed."      

For further information about Alex’s marathon or to donate online, head to



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