Update! As of July 3rd, Shaun has raised just shy of $20,000!!
As a former competitive rugby player at Oxford turned World Fitness Champion and London-based entrepreneur, Shaun Stafford is no stranger to putting in the hard work to achieve one’s goals. His next challenge? Running in the 2018 Everest Marathon, notoriously difficult and the highest altitude marathon in the world. Shaun will be in Nepal at the end of May to compete in the marathon as a personal challenge, but also as an opportunity to give back to the people of Nepal.
After some research, Shaun decided to run this marathon to raise funds for HCC kids, supporting HCC programming for education and basic needs for orphaned, abandoned and at-risk Nepalese children. He knew HCC was the right fit due to HCC’s focus in programming and support because it was important to him “that the charity provides the basic elements to help people who need it most: food, shelter, and education are vital fundamentals for growth.” With HCC’s transparency in and dedication to using over 97% of funds raised to help those in need, Shaun knew that the kids who needed it most would be getting the baseline support to help them achieve their own goals and determine their own future.
To date, Shaun has raised over $4,400 for HCC with more being raised each day! To learn more about Shaun’s journey and why fitness and charity are so interconnected for him, check out our interview with Shaun below.
Note: Interview has been condensed and edited for length
How did you first hear about Himalayan Children’s Charities? Were you looking for an organization specifically located in Nepal?
Yes. Doing an event in Nepal, I wanted to run on behalf of a charity based in the region I was visiting… and being a Dad myself, I really wanted to do something to help local children.
How do you see the link between fitness and charity? Why is it important to you to run for charity?
For me, doing something such as running the Everest Marathon gives an opportunity on several fronts. It provides an opportunity to push myself and see what I am really capable of when it comes to both a physical and mental challenge, but it also gives me an opportunity to shine a light and raise awareness of things outside of my conventional field.
Being involved in fitness is a lot about having a positive impact, and running for a charity helps to do this: it will hopefully be a vehicle to encourage others to attempt things they potentially didn’t think was possible for them, but also to actively and directly help other people who are potentially less fortunate.
An event such as this, and being involved with a charity, allows you to be a change for good both for yourself and for others which I think is an incredibly powerful motivation.
How have you been training for the Everest Marathon? How are you preparing for the altitude?
I have been doing 2 runs per week, gradually increasing my distances, since January. I am also doing 2-3 weights sessions per week and spending 2-3 sessions a week in an altitude chamber. In addition, I have been doing some terrain running to condition myself to the race conditions. I think this will put me in the best position to actually finish the event (which is my only goal along with raising a lot of money for HCC)!
What are you looking forward to about visiting Nepal?
I am looking forward to some of the most breath-taking scenery and mountains I have ever seen, in addition to seeing and experiencing the Nepalese culture. I travel a lot and have always wanted to visit this part of the world. I have heard it is an incredible place and very spiritual: I am looking forward to seeing the relationship between the people, the culture and the environment, all set against an amazing Himalayan backdrop.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to make a difference in the world but doesn’t know how to get started?
People often think that they need to “get their ducks in a row” or have the perfect preparation for anything to be effective. I think if you are really interested in making a difference, you just have to start! You don’t have to have a perfect vision and plan of how you are going to make a difference, just a drive and desire to see it through. You can almost certainly make it up along the way, and no one will even know!
Good luck Shaun! Congratulations on all of your hard work already. We are looking forward to cheering you on. See you in Nepal! To join Shaun and support HCC kids, donate to his JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shaun-stafford1 and follow his journey on Instagram @shaunstafford.