Jenny Pullen, 39, of Haywards Heath, has taken on the challenge of running 12 half-marathons across the UK in as many months to mark a milestone birthday and raise funds for international development charity Tearfund.
‘I’ll be turning 40 in December, and this challenge is a great way for me to celebrate that milestone whilst raising money for a charity I believe in,’ shares the part-time physiotherapist.
Jenny is a seasoned runner but this year will see her take on her biggest challenge yet.
‘I’ve done marathons and half-marathons before, but nothing quite like this. It will be tough to keep my fitness up throughout the year, as I attempt a half-marathon each month. It’s also a big time commitment and takes planning to balance training and events with my family and work life.’
The mother of two was inspired to raise money for Tearfund when she heard about children dying from malnutrition in Yemen.
Yemen is currently the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, with over 24.1 million people urgently needing aid. One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen’s civil war has crippled the country’s water, sanitation and health infrastructures. Over 85,000 children have died from hunger or disease since 2015.
Through its partners, Tearfund is providing conflict-affected families with safe, clean water and hygiene materials to help reduce the risk of illness and disease. Seeds and tools have also been distributed to help people plant vegetable gardens, and emergency food packages are being distributed to vulnerable families.
Tearfund supports mothers like Farah who was forced to flee her home with her young children when fighting erupted in their village in south west Yemen.
‘It was the worst day in my life when I left my house,’ recounts Farah. ‘I have not seen anything good since that ominous night. I hope to return to my house as soon as possible.’
Farah wasn’t able to take any of her things with her; she just hoped to find somewhere safe. They found themselves in one of the few places where no one stopped them from setting up shelter – a graveyard. But with no possessions or materials to build even a make-shift home, it was a challenge to start again in the bleak outdoors.
Learning of Farah’s story, Jenny felt moved to do something in response. ‘Hearing of those children in Yemen, it fell heavy on my heart. My children are a similar age as Farah’s and I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would do if it were my family in that situation . Doing these running events for Tearfund means I can give something to those who have so little.’
£46 could provide a family like Farah’s with a food basket, containing essential food and cooking items. £70 could provide two families with vital hygiene kits, including soap, toothpaste, sanitary products and nappies.
Jenny’s desire is that others will follow her progress and be inspired to set their own challenges to make a difference. ‘I’d love for people to join me on this journey. Whether it’s just a couple of miles alongside, or for several of the runs, we can all get involved and run to beat poverty.’
‘Running is one of many ways people like Jenny can raise money to help transform the lives of people living in extreme poverty’ says Jo Mummery, Head of Tearfund’s Community Fundraising. ‘We are proud of fundraisers that partner with Tearfund to bring hope to people like Farah who have been through such trauma and upheaval.’
To find updates on Jenny's progress, to donate or join her team and set your own challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/team/1212hmteam.
For more details about fundraising for Tearfund, visit www.tearfund.org/fundraise.
Details on Tearfund’s work in Yemen and how you can support it, can be found at www.tearfund.org/yemencrisis.
For further information or interview requests contact Oliver Needham on 07929 353530 or the Tearfund Media Team on 020 3906 3131. For out of hours media enquiries please call 07929 339813.
‘Jenny Pullen preparing to run 12 half-marathons in 12 months.’
Credit: Jenny Pullen
Notes to editors
Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters’ Emergency Committee. Tearfund has been working around the world for more than 50 years responding to disasters and helping lift communities out of poverty. For more information about the work of Tearfund, please visit www.tearfund.org.