Posted: 10 April 2014

I’m running 26.2 miles because what we do changes lives

I am running the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 to support our work because what we do changes the lives of children and young people every day as they fight childhood poverty and adolescent neglect.

As our Director of Children and Families, I feel a strong connection to our work and especially the work focused on childhood poverty. Despite living in a country that is the sixth richest on the planet, we are seeing levels of child poverty that are unprecedented in my lifetime.

This is an intolerable position and one that the government could do more to alleviate, if it saw it as a greater priority. Nelson Mandela said: 'You can judge a society’s soul by the way it treats its children'. On this measure, the great man would see Britain today as pretty 'soulless!'

Soulless and 'sole-less'

I’m fighting against this soullessness by going sole-less. That is why I am not only taking on the challenge of running 26.2 miles but doing so in Huaraches Barefoot Running Sandals, inspired by those worn by the Tarahumara Indians of northwest Mexico.

If even for just five hours, I will be able to visually protest against the plight of young people whose suffering goes unseen. To finish off the race I will cast off the 'barefoot' sandals and run truly barefoot for my last mile.

This is my first marathon and after taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in both winter and summer this is going to be my hardest challenge yet and keeping in line with that, I have set myself my highest fundraising target yet: £10,000.

Please sponsor whatever you can to help me reach my goal. The old adage of ‘every little helps’ has never been more apt. Thank you so much.

Help Damian raise £10,000

Please support Damian's run - make a donation on his JustGiving page

By Damian Allen - Leadership team

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This is the measure of my big brother. He truly is an inspiration and has always been passionate in his beliefs and likes a personal challenge.

I'm sure many of your friends and colleagues are impressed by this challenge Dame but we, your family, look on in awe and with immense pride. Dad would have thought you were amazing and daft in equal measure. Love you lots!