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British Deputy Ambassador to Albania, running today to raise funds for NHSCharities and UNICEF

 Jason Ivory

The UK is a force for good during this crisis

British Deputy Ambassador to Tirana Albania, Jason Ivory and 3300 of the British Diplomatic are families are running a Global, socially distanced, non stop 24 hour relay today to raise funds for NHSCharities and UNICEF.

By Mirela Sula

He and his wife, Sue are displaced from their overseas posting of Tirana Albania after returning home for a funeral and getting ‘stuck’. They were booked into a holiday cottage for six nights at Spain’s Hall Estate, Finchingfield, Essex and that has become a stay of seven weeks (so far) with special thanks to the Spains Hall Estate team for continuing to accommodate them. He set out this morning around the Essex countryside and completed 13.1KM (having only taken up running three weeks ago).

Numerous British Diplomats and their families at this time are separated across borders due to the CoVid-19 pandemic and the working roles of Diplomatic staff have shifted as they follow differing countries rulings and work remotely.


We had the chance to have a conversation with Jason and ask him to tell us more about this great initiative.

Can you tell us more about this initiative?

The global marathon is the brainchild of Dr Ian Collard, acting Ambassador to Afghanistan, and his wife Tamara. With global flight restrictions, Ian’s 3,500-mile separation from Tamara and their children has forced them to find creative ways to stay united as a family during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pair knew their situation was not unique in the department and decided the marathon would be a good way to unite the department, and its families, and improve mental and physical wellbeing. It would also allow staff to virtually connect with their colleagues while social distancing measures were in place

What inspired you to run this marathon? Everyone is facing challenging times at the moment, separated from loved ones. This is a great way to build camaraderie, exercise (whilst adhering to Lockdown and Social distancing rules of all countries) whilst raising Funds for NHS Charities and UNICEF. Donations to the Global Marathon Virgin Money Giving page will be split equally between NHS charities and UNICEF’s contribution to the global fight against Covid-19.

How much did you train to do this?

Back in February this year, I radically changed my diet to one of Whole Food Plant Based No Oil. Whilst I had prior to Lockdown been trying to play tennis regularly, I had not run for many years. In April, I was challenged by my cousin to run 5km for the NHS. I was able to achieve this goal within the space of three days and subsequently was able to build each session to comfortably complete a 10km run in just under one week. I now run at least four times a week and attest this rediscovered ability in part to the change of menu. I pushed todays run to be my furthest yet.

What the life a diplomat looks like behind the scenes of corona virus?

The current situation is challenging for everyone. The work of the Foreign Office around the world goes on. We’ve all had to adapt our working practices in order to work remotely as per individual Government instructions. Our teams have also been on the frontline, ensuring the safety of British nationals in all corners of the world, and helping the most vulnerable to return home to the UK. The UK is a force for good and during this crisis, we continue to ensure we are doing everything we can to support our international partners as they fight this pandemic.

How hard has been for you to manage a new life style away from the office?

We’ve We’ve all had to adapt to a new way of living and a new way of working and I personally feel that this situation will change our lives for many years to come. Technology has certainly been key to keeping Offices and Businesses operational globally as well ask keeping friends and family connected. It’s had it’s own challenges being away from our home in Albania and being in temporary accommodation, living life out of a suitcase! Our two pet dogs are still in Albania – being very well looked after by the Tirana Dog Walking and Coaching team. But, we do miss them and are looking forward to getting back to them and our own home as soon as it’s permissible.

What would be your message to people to support you in this initiative?

This is a fantastic (and novel) way to raise money for two great organisations (NHS Charities and UNICEF) doing superbly under great pressure at the front line of this current crisis. Please do donate by clicking on the link below. Together, we can beat this. Please continue to follow all directives from Governments around the world to keep yourselves and loved ones healthy and well.


#NHSCharitiesTogether #UNICEF please click to read more about this event and sponsor Jason and all his colleagues around the world by clicking here. 

#DiploMile #GlobalMarathon #MilesApartTogether #Fundraiser #Marathon #Relay around the #World #CoVid19 #BritishDiplomats #FCO #DSFA *Whilst conforming with all #UK #Lockdown #SocialDistancing #BritishEmbassyTirana #Albania

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