Paul Blackler

Where are you from?


Which Charity are you supporting and why?

We work in partnership supporting the UK registered charity United Purpose, helping to develop community agricultural projects in rural Gambia, improving opportunities in income, education, health, and nutrition.

Paul volunteered in rural Gambia with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO)
2008-2009 and after living with and sharing many close experiences with the local community was inspired to support their entrepreneurial efforts to better improve the lives of their families and communities around them.

In The Gambia 75% of the population rely on subsistence farming with UN data showing that 60% are ‘ultra poor’. Paul’s experience has shown that empowering community ownership with a little ‘seed money’, supporting the right entrepreneurial mindset and collaboration from local and international partners can make a huge difference.

Since 2008, Paul’s friends and family have supported in ongoing fundraising and direct support to community development projects in this region.

What is your challenge?

In 2017 Paul Blackler and Alex Osborne will take on a running journey with the virtual challenge to run the length of the River Gambia (696 miles/1170km) alongside waterside tracks, paths and trails mainly in the UK, whilst blogging and sharing awareness along the way.

In addition, they invite others to join in by offering a ‘virtual Run’ in return for Gambia River Run T-shirts, medals and buffs. To join in is

1.) Enter, and donate, on their website
2.) Run. Any distance, time, location, pace. You choose.
3.) Share your run/photos by Email or Facebook 4. Receive T-shirts, medals, buffs etc by post 5. Compete – Your effort will be tallied up with the wider running community to see how many virtual laps of the river the public can complete against Paul and Alex.

Sign up now. Game on!

Why did you choose this?

We both have a passion for running and for encouraging others into enjoying fitness and health, which fits very well with the health and well-being goals we promote in The Gambia

We have a passion for uniting running communities, with regular monthly social runs taking place in Glasgow, and support participants of the virtual run across the UK and overseas.

Virtual runs offer something a little bit different. Some people participate to spice up a training run and to help keep the mojo flowing. Others have a love for apparel and bling, and others directly to support the charitable cause. We hope it offers something for everyone.

We also wanted to stretch ourselves to raise even more this year for a fresh and ambitious strategy with United Purpose, and the virtual runs allow us to support runners whilst offer something back in return and not simply asking for another online donation.

How much are you aiming to raise?

Targeting £10,000

How can people sponsor you?

You can follow the @GambiaRiverRun progress, take part in the virtual run for T-shirts and Bling, or simply donate through their website and follow on facebook and twitter.

Your Instagram: @GambiaRiverRun