Charity Runners Raise Over £43k for Refugees by taking on Coventry’s Half Marathon


Penny Appeal team, including The Apprentice stars, hit the streets to support people fleeing conflict.

A team of 75 runners from international humanitarian charity Penny Appeal hit the streets of Coventry this weekend, pounding the pavements for over 13 miles to raise money to support refugees.

12747464_10153975883543739_7990374525207816822_oThey took part in Coventry’s Half Marathon and far exceeded their fundraising targets, bringing in a massive £43,255.01 towards Penny Appeal’s Refugee Emergency campaign. The money will go on to provide vital aid to those fleeing conflict, with the charity’s teams on the ground in places like Lebanon, Syria and Greece, delivering things such as nutritious food, warm clothes and hygiene kits.

Among the fundraising runners were Mergim Butaja and David Stevenson, former contestants on BBC’s The Apprentice.

Mergim, whose family fled from war-torn Kosovo when he was just seven years old, said the challenge was a way of showing solidarity with those in desperate need.12801095_10153975883268739_7055556585656319494_n

He said: “Despite the setbacks during training and a few muscular pains at the start I was determined to finish the race. Jog, sprint, walk, hop, roll or crawl – I was going to finish!

“One thing that got me through was the positive mental mindset, which is so crucial in all aspects of life. Penny Appeal is a charity so close to my heart, and to raise money to help refugees, whose struggles I know for myself, was an honour.”

Haroon Mota, Midlands Fundraising Manager for Penny Appeal, added: “Signing up is one thing but to commit to fundraising and training through the winter, then turning up on race day, takes a huge amount of courage and determination. I’m so proud of everyone!”

Quotes from some of the other #TeamOrange runners:

  • Samera Rehman: “Running Coventry’s Half Marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life! But I could not have got through it if it wasn’t for all the support from my family and friends. Thank you to everyone who donated too, your donations are going to make a big difference by providing refugees with life essential resources.”
  • Susie James: “I’m so glad I said yes to this challenge! I found out about an incredible charity, which does the most incredible things for the most vulnerable refugees. I challenged myself physically by running further than I ever have before – channelling every pain and injury into a focus on the task in hand: raising funds for those suffering much greater pains.”
  • Sam and Rajna: “We started together and finished together. We sometimes do wonder why we do all this running? We do it because we can and we should. We look forward to further #TeamOrange events and never regret have having joined up.”

The #TeamOrange volunteer family also hosted a special Cheer Station at mile 12, giving runners a bit of extra encouragement for the final mile. They handed out juicy oranges, donated by a generous sponsor, and made plenty of noise as the 5,000 runners made their way past. The new Penny Appeal bus was also present, giving supporters an insight into the charity’s work to help the poor and needy worldwide.

MesmerEyez sponsored the #TeamOrange runners, contributing £7,000 towards their fundraising. Donations can still be made to the #TeamOrange #TeamMesmerEyez runners via their JustGiving team page:

Find out about the campaign and donate at or by calling 03000 11 11 11. To join #TeamOrange or find out about upcoming challenges and volunteer activities, visit



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