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Compassion UK Doubles Funds Raised in Epic 2018 Kenya Endurance Challenge

Child development charity Compassion UK has raised over £150,000 through its Muskathlon challenge in June 2018, more than doubling its 2017 total of almost £70,000.

56 people from across the UK took part in the week-long adventure challenge in Kenya, East Africa in June 2018. Participants battled 40 degree heat and rough, uneven terrain as they each completed a running, cycling or walking endurance challenge.

The Muskathlon is hosted by 4M UK and Compassion UK and aims to encourage participants to find sponsors for children or raise funds to support local initiatives such as building classrooms and toilets. Participants choose from a half, full or ultra-marathon, 120km cycle or 42km or 63km walk through the communities for which they are fundraising.

65-year-old grandma and former college lecturer Denise Pascoe from Cornwall explained
her motivation for taking part: “I have never done any exercise in my whole life, but I was retiring and wanted to give something back. This challenge event came up and I signed up quickly and told someone immediately, so I couldn’t back out! I already sponsor two children through Compassion, however I wanted to positively affect the lives of even more children and see first- hand the difference Compassion is making.”

Compassion UK Communications Director Roz Walsh explained the scale of the challenge
that participants faced: “Despite sweltering heat, rocky terrain and a herd of wild hippos forcing the course to be changed at the last minute, participants sacrificed their time and energy to empower children in poverty.” She continues: “The extraordinary growth in participation and funds generated through this year’s event demonstrates the increased supporter-interest in adventure challenges that we’re seeing here at Compassion. This ties in with Institute of Fundraising research that finds sporting challenges are the charity events most on the increase.”

Funds raised from the 2018 Muskathlon will provide 1500 solar lights to Kenyan households, giving a safe, reliable and environmentally-sustainable way to light their homes. In addition, they will enable 49 Kenyan students to access further education, by providing scholarships for secondary and post-secondary education.

As part of the event, participants visited projects which are supported by Compassion and met the people whose lives it is impacting.

Father-of-two Luke Gratton, who is 38 and from North Wales met six-year-old Boaz, a child he will now be sponsoring as a result of the Muskathlon. Luke said: “Meeting Boaz and his family was amazing. It was very humbling to see their home in rural Kenya. Their house is just a corrugated iron shack and the dad struggles to bring in money as they don’t have any land. I took a pack of gifts from my church - colouring books, pencils, a teddy bear and even a welsh flag! - and we tried to put a smile on Boaz’s face.”

This child sponsorship of £25 a month is giving Boaz the chance to have a different future. Luke’s support will enable him to be part of his local Compassion project where he will receive nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention and the chance to get a good quality education.

The 2019 Compassion UK Muskathlon is taking place in Rwanda in East Africa next June, with money being raised to help children living in poverty there.

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