A tale of two runners
This is a tale of two runners but just one city – London. It’s a story that will reach a climax on 29 May when Tania and Nishi will join thousands of others pounding the streets of London in the Vitality 10km run to raise funds for Freedom from Torture.
Tania and Nishi both work for Freedom from Torture in London. Tania Baldwin Pask is a member of the policy and advocacy team. As Head of International Advocacy she develops and responds to international developments and helps to represent Freedom from Torture at the UN and other forums. As Executive Assistant to Freedom from Torture CEO Susan Munroe, Nishi Raja sits at the heart of Freedom from Torture’s activities.
As staff members and fundraisers, Tania and Nishi may be united in one cause but they have come to running from very different backgrounds and motivations.
Tania has been a runner for many years. Each year she tackles different courses, including half-marathons, undertaking at least one run for charity. This year her cause is Freedom from Torture.
She explains: “Charity races have a great atmosphere, with everyone wanting to do well and encouraging others. And the course itself will be a big draw, starting at The Mall and finishing opposite Buckingham Palace and passing so many London landmarks. I train on weekends at home in the Chiltern hills so the flat London streets will be very different.
“My family and friends know I work for Freedom from Torture but they don’t always know what we do so this is a great opportunity to raise awareness, as well as raising funds. So far I have raised £700 and I am hoping to reach £1,000.”
Nishi has run once before in her home city of Melbourne but is equally looking forward running through historic London. She says: “This is a new challenge for me and it takes me out of my comfort zone. I am training in the gym before and after work, and running in the streets near my home.
“I have been involved with Freedom from Torture’s choir, Sing for Freedom, from its beginnings and all my donations will go to support the choir. Like running, the choir is about building confidence, meeting new people and challenging yourself. I am aiming to raise £500.”
No honour is at stake and no heads will be lost if they don’t make the finish line but both are confident that they will last the course. Tania would love to achieve a personal best of under one hour and Nishi will be aiming for around an hour and a half but both recognise that too hot, wet or windy weather can affect the best laid plans.
Both Tania and Nishi face an extra challenge in that they are travelling before the race. Tania will at meetings in Washington and New York as part of her advocacy work and is looking forward to training in New York’s Central Park. Nishi will be kayaking in Montenegro. Both are adamant that travel will aid, not affect, their commitment to the run.
And what happens afterwards? Nishi has a particular motivation. Having given up chocolate during training, she will be enjoying all the easter eggs waiting for her. Tania will be looking to keep running, together with her regular companion, her dog, Diesel. And both will be sending thanks to their donors for supporting them and Freedom from Torture.