Run for TomorrowTM is a continuous, non-stop run around the world by a marathon running team.
Each member of the team runs a marathon distance and passes the baton to the next runner.
The baton never stops moving.
Why are we doing this?
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The purpose of R4T is to improve the health and well-being of individuals around the world. This is done in several inter-related ways:
• We raise awareness about the importance of healthy living and exercise.
• We help to improve individuals’ healthy lifestyles.
• We raise awareness of important charities and their activities around the world.
• We raise funding for these charities.
• We raise volunteer time for these charities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, there are over one billion overweight adults, of which over 300 million are obese. In 1997 the WHO formally stated that obesity was a global epidemic. It has reached epidemic proportions. Being over-weight is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and some forms of cancer.
Psycho-social issues are also much more prevalent in individuals who are obese or overweight. Earlier deaths and a reduced quality of life are the outcomes of the overweight epidemic, and that’s without going into the multitude of issues surrounding the effects on health systems as they attempt to respond and manage the epidemic.
In the developed world there has been the continual trend towards a sedentary lifestyle, made possible through automation and technological advances. In 2009 the WHO estimated that at least 60% of the global population gets insufficient exercise. In the United States the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that American society has become ‘obesogenic,’ with increased food intake, non-healthful foods, and physical inactivity.
In 2009 the CDC noted that since 1980, American obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled. Over one third of all American adults (more than 72 million people), and 16% of American children are obese. In 2000, it was estimated that health costs associated with obesity was $117 billion dollars. In England meanwhile, it’s estimated that about 46% of men and 32% of women are overweight and another 17% of men and 21% of women are obese. In New Zealand, over one third of adults is overweight (36.3%) and over one quarter is obese (26.5%).
What will R4T be doing?
R4T is a continuous run around the world by a 10-person team comprised of marathon runners. This team will be integrated with runners and local personalities daily from local areas that the team runs through. The continuous run will raise awareness and mobilise activities by individuals and organizations as it passes through the different locations.
Runners in the team will run the equivalent of a marathon distance – 26.2 miles (42.2 kms) – each day. Local runners, celebrities, and others will contribute by running the distance with these marathoners as far as they can and, by doing so, enhance the awareness of the R4T mission. In some countries we may have additional team members – marathon runners who will join the core team and run daily as R4T moves through their own countries.
Each 24-hour day the team will cover approximately 120 miles as the runners continuously pass the ‘Commitment Scroll’ to one another through night and day, approximately every 5 hours, as they each complete the 26.2 mile marathon distance.
The Commitment Scroll will list names of people who have either a) committed money to the goal or b) committed time – volunteer hours – to provide support to one of the charities. By doing either a) or b) Scroll signees publicly commit themselves to whatever healthy lifestyle activity they choose to support the cause, and their own cause for improved health.
The individual signees (sponsors) will make this public commitment either through the R4T Web Portal or by signing the scroll itself as it passes through the various communities. This public statement of their commitment is designed to ‘encourage’ them to achieve their goal, whatever goal it is that they decide upon. This way it promotes choice, flexibility and the ability for the individuals to define what is uniquely possible for them to improve their own health and well-being.
With this approach the Scroll signees, who write their name and commitment on the scroll, as well as the charitable organizations who will receive the committed funding or volunteer hours, all benefit. In essence Run for Tomorrow is about caring; for ourselves and for others (i.e., family members, spouses, partners, children, and friends – those people who need us healthy in their lives). It’s also about our R4T specified charities and we want to give them our time and support.
The Educational component
The focus of our R4T mission is the marathon relay run around the world, which is scheduled for the Year 2012. In 2010 and 2011, however, we will be undertaking an extensive promotional and educational initiative about healthy lifestyles, being active and running that will be taken into schools, businesses and running events around the globe. We will prepare targeted information packages for the respective audiences – all of which is intended to educate and promote the awareness of the 2012 Run for Tomorrow event.
We will visit schools to talk about Run for Tomorrow. We’ll describe the marathon relay, where it will be going and why, and also what is involved for individuals to run such a distance. We’ll explain why we have created R4T, identify the charities involved, and explain why our messages are important and affect the children and their families (i.e., look after your health – as a child – get up get moving, and the same goes for their siblings and parents). We’ll explain how they can get involved. We’ll leave educational material with the children and schools.
We will approach businesses to talk to the employers and employees and unions about R4T. These speaking arrangements will be part educational and part motivational. We’ll share stories we’ve personally experienced or relate stories of individuals we know who are currently running and who are simply inspiring by virtue of what they have accomplished. We will also approach fitness centres around the world to promote R4T in their respective settings.
As we will be among ‘the converted’ at running events, our focus turns more directly on R4T and how runners, especially marathoners, can be involved. We will attend marathon expos in North America and Europe regularly throughout the latter part of 2010 and all of 2011. We will have R4T running gear and materials available for purchase and giveaway to help promote the 2012 run. We will describe what the run is and why we are doing it, as well as how people can get involved even before the run actually begins.
All through this phase we will engage the media (print, Internet, television, radio) to promote the run and our focus on healthy, active lifestyles. With 2 or 3 core sponsors as well as three international charities, we have significant marketing opportunities that will benefit all organizations involved in R4T.
Simply, the more exposure to R4T before the run begins, the greater the attention to R4T during the run, and the greater the success of the entire initiative.
… it’s coming
How does it work?
Here’s just one example.
Frank’s running for tomorrow
Frank is a 40-year old banker who got out of shape over the years. He has a growing desire to do something about his own health – especially when he reflects on the health problems his father had before he died at an early age (high blood pressure, diabetes, significantly overweight). Frank has three young children. His doctor has said it’s almost too late now for him to reverse this dangerous decline in health status. He needs to do something and now. He and his wife Anna hear about R4T and decide it’s a worthy cause. The charities get the benefit of his time as Frank decides to sign up through the Web Portal and volunteer in his local community.
Frank joins dozens, maybe hundreds of others, in the area as he commits to some form of exercise that is consistent and realistic with his current level of physical fitness. He publicly commits to walking two miles every day for the next month. He tells his friends and colleagues at the bank and encourages them to do the same. They are motivated further when they hear the original song that has been composed especially for R4T.
Anna tells her friends and family what Frank is doing. Some of Frank and Anna’s friends and family decide to sign on to R4T as well – they select the respective charity they want to support – some through their volunteer time and some with direct monetary support, and they too benefit by taking on a more healthy approach to life as they set new (and realistic) individual fitness goals that they work towards achieving. “If Frank can do it then surely I can”.
A number of their friends and family live in other parts of the country, and the world. They search for R4T on the Internet and find out when the marathoners are scheduled to run through their community. Instead of signing on the virtual scroll they want to sign on the scroll itself. Their children want to get involved too, especially when they see that local TV personalities and a pop singer are going to run five of the miles with one of the core team members, and will be available to sign autographs.
The local radio and TV stations meanwhile have started to talk about R4T. ‘A continuous run around the world by a small team of runners who each run a marathon almost every day?’ It’s newsworthy in itself, but they see that the mayor of the city is also scheduled to run two miles with the R4T team member as she runs into the city. The three charities benefitting from R4T meanwhile, have been promoting R4T for a number of weeks now and several of their volunteers are already running with the R4T runner. The charities have also promoted R4T and encourage people to do something about their own health. More and more people hear about it. They learn more about the charities and the work they do – both in the city itself and also globally. Everyone benefits.
At the pre-determined baton change points members of the R4T team are present to answer questions about the global run and their experiences so far. The charities are present also and talking about their own charity work and how people can get involved. People are lining up to make the public statement on the Commitment Scroll about what they will do to improve their own fitness and how they’ll help one of the charities. As this is happening, a movie celebrity is getting ready, along with another R4T core runner, to begin the next portion of the run. The celebrity, of course, is only running two miles, but hundreds of people have showed up just to hear him talk and to see how he runs. The local, national and international TV cameras are rolling as numerous interviews take place.
Similar sorts of activities are happening just 125 miles away at the next Scroll (baton) change for the team. In the highly populated areas there is a huge amount of publicity associated with R4T as it continues its journey. At the end of the day, the Commitment Scroll is copied onto a database, and renewed daily on the web portal. The list of Scroll commitments keeps getting bigger over time.
What are the charities?
There are several charities involved with the R4T initiative. These charities either have a cause for which healthy lifestyles and exercise are beneficial to their respective population groups, or they have a mandate to alleviate poverty. This is an exciting opportunity for the charities to promote awareness of their cause, as well as gain considerable volunteer and funding support. In addition, each core runner will identify a specific charity of his or her own choice that will benefit from their run around the world.
What is the route? Where is R4T going?
We conducted research on three different options for the R4T route and distances travelled. We selected our final route based on the following reasons:
• Beginning and ending in London, England (to coincide with the 2012 Olympics).
• Reaching a significantly large population.
• Running in at least 30 different countries.
• Logistics of running in remote locations.
• Locations of the charities.
• Geographical limitations (e.g., mountainous terrain).
• Access in and out of countries.
• Safety of, and risks to, the runners (especially dangerous areas where there is political unrest, wars, terrorist activity).
In total, running the route will take approximately 178 days (see Table 1 below). The route for R4T will take us through 30 countries around the world. The route is shown on the map (next page), with specific details provided in the Appendix. Our research shows that we will be running in and out of dozens of major centers around the world, representing a total population of approximately 350 million. There will also be millions of people along the routes between these major centers as well.
Summary statistics for the R4T Route
Cumulative Total of Miles 22,385
Number of ‘Marathons’ 854
Cumulative Number of Days 178
Number of Countries Visited 30
Population Passed 341,980,935
NB: London is only counted once for the population, even though we are there twice.
We anticipate high levels of media coverage and widespread attention not only within these centers themselves but also internationally. We anticipate increasing media attention and interest building up over the duration of the run. The enduring visibility and worldwide exposure represents a significant marketing opportunity to core funders of R4T.
The Web Portal
The centerpiece of R4T is its web portal – a sophisticated Internet site that includes video-streaming, audio messages, the virtual Commitment Scroll, mapping of the route and its hourly and daily progress, live interviews and feeds from the run itself, and the growing list of signees and their commitments. News items, such as clips of the celebrities who have run with the team, will be posted here as well. Internet links to the charities and also the core sponsors will be highlighted on the R4T portal. Daily totals of volunteer hours, funding levels, and public commitments will be posted and constantly updated as the R4T travel through 30 countries.
What about when R4T runs through countries in the developing world? Can we expect substantial contributions from these countries?
No we can’t, but what R4T will do is build awareness and highlight the needs of these regions of the world. In that sense, although Frank lives in a major urban center in the United States, he can still make his contribution to another part of the world. The choice – the flexibility – is with the Scroll signee. We fully anticipate that the media coverage of R4T will heighten awareness of the poorer parts of the world. What’s more, in addition to the media coverage we will have our own videos of these areas that we will place on the R4T Web portal on a daily basis.
Why the marathon distance?
Running a marathon, as everyone knows, is a significant achievement. It’s about patience, tenacity, goal setting, commitment, and resilience. It is character forming. It is life changing. It is for these reasons that we feel the distance perfectly exemplifies what we are trying to achieve overall as R4T, as well as what the charities are also trying to do. We are running for tomorrow – for all of our tomorrows – for ourselves, for our families and for our friends. We need to take care of ourselves and take care of those whose needs are much greater than ours.
What about the runners? Is this really possible?
The R4T runners are all experienced marathoners and ultra-marathoners accustomed to running long distances. They are very familiar with running long distances, running these distances each day, undertaking tests of endurance and night running. Several of the team members have run hundreds of marathons. The R4T core runners will be supported by a team of individuals with medical, therapeutic, logistical, and communications backgrounds.
The core runners will also be ‘boosted’ with 1or 2 nationally-based runners who will run each day in their respective countries, but who will not be running outside their national borders (e.g., a runner in Japan may run each day while R4T passes through Japan, but will not continue the global journey with the core team).
How will it be done?
When you combine the global representation and volunteer base of the three charities, we have a collective pool of thousands of volunteers that will be mobilized to make this happen. In addition, there is a global network of runners and running clubs and associations that we are already part of that we will tap into for logistical support.
We have established an eight person Steering Committee. This Committee is comprised of a member of each of the charities, the founder of R4T, three of the marathon runners, and one individual from a sponsoring organization who will act as liaison with the R4T core sponsors. Under the Steering Committee there is a Core Operations Team comprised of an Executive Director, a Logistics Coordinator, a Communications Director, an Information Technology specialist, and a Volunteer Coordinator. Additional staff (volunteers) will be mobilised as the start date for R4T gets closer and a much larger number used as the journey takes place. We also have several well known Advisors from the running world who support us in our planning, communications and awareness.
Where will the funding come from?
To maximize the potential of R4T we recognize the need for investment up front as we move from the concept phase to the development phase. We would like sponsorship support from a few select organizations, all of whom would be able to market the fact that they are core sponsors of the R4T project. In addition, there will be tremendous actual and virtual global visibility with R4T. We expect continual exposure of the respective core sponsors (and their logos) throughout all stages of the R4T (i.e., from development to completion of the run and in post-run communications).
We are in the process of obtaining sponsorship from major organizations and corporations. We anticipate considerable interest from the following global sectors: running related markets (shoes, clothing apparel), media outlets, sports-related businesses, music, financial/ banking, airlines, and information technology.
When will R4T occur?
We have focused our planning to coordinate R4T with the 2012 Olympics in London; that is, to complete the run to coincide with the Olympics. This will further enhance exposure of R4t and the charities and sponsors involved.
In broad strokes there are five distinct phases:
Phases of Run for Tomorrow
Phase 1: Concept to Development (2009-June 2010) – Confirm the charities, confirm the sponsors.
Phase 2: Development (January-June 2010) – Development of a) a detailed business plan, b) a detailed work plan, c) promotional material, d) educational material (i.e., active lifestyles, exercise and fitness, running), e) detailed running route, and f) a web tool
Phase 3: Promotion and Education (July 2010-2012) – Finalize education material, visit schools, businesses and running events
Phase 4: Run for Tomorrow (2012) – Complete the run!
Phase 5: Post Run (2012) – Conduct in-depth review and follow-up, next steps.
We are in discussions with organizations that we believe will be interested in becoming partners in R4T; either as one of the three charities or as sponsors. At the same time, we are discussing the R4T with many individuals and organizations around the world as a precursor to subsequent engagement in a number of different roles.
We are committed, excited and passionate about R4T and the key messages it embodies. We need to care more about ourselves and others to lead full and healthy lives in harmony with the world. R4T reminds us all of this – and the resilience and commitment of the R4T runners reminds us that anything is possible.
For more information please contact
Malcolm Anderson at: email@example.com
… taking care of our future
APPENDIX – Details of the Run for Tomorrow Route
Countries to be visited by R4T
• United Kingdom
• United States
• New Zealand
• South Korea
• The Netherlands
• Czech Republic
…we can all do something