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Marathon effort to give people a home

Baptist accountant to run 40 marathons in 40 days and provide homes for families in Sierra Leone slum

A chartered accountant has embarked on a gruelling challenge this week which will benefit dozens of families in one of the poorest places in the world. 

On Monday 50-year-old Dave Hall set off from John O’Groats for the first of 40 marathons in 40 days, with his journey finishing in Land's End on 26 September.

Man in Shack Dave Hall300As if that wasn't arduous enough, Dave, who attends Street Baptist Church in Somerset, will be travelling alongside a replica of a slumtown shack in which he will sleep each night. His aim is to both engage with people along the way about the reality of abject living conditions for so many in the world, and raise funds for the new charity Home Leone to build low cost houses for people in Sierra Leone. 

His endurance challenge was inspired by a visit to Freetown, the capital of the afore-mentioned African country, where he walked through the slums, met local people and their community leaders, and gained an understanding of the problems they face.

'It is shocking to see the living conditions in the slums,' he said. 'I really feel God has laid these people on my heart, so I want to do something to help them.

'I see this challenge as a very practical way of putting my Christian faith into action. The need in Africa is so vast; far beyond our comprehension. I am constantly humbled by how much luxury we enjoy in our society and I feel compelled to make even a small difference to as many people as I can.' 

The land for sustainable, low-cost housing is already available; each home costs £5,000 and Dave is hoping to raise a house a day for the 40 days of the run. 

Man in Shack slumHaving taking up running in 1999, Dave has since completed 126 marathons, so he is fully aware of the challenges he is about to face. However, he freely admits that this challenge will pose difficulties for him but with God’s help he hopes to achieve his goal and release 40 families from the slums forever.

His commitment was praised by Home Leone founder Nigel Hyde, of Stopsley Baptist Church in Luton. The pair have been friends for many years, and Nigel, who also founded the Mission Direct charity, said, 'Dave’s endurance challenge is a truly significant event.

'I’m humbled by his commitment to coming and seeing the issues first hand in Sierra Leone and being prepared to run 40 marathons in 40 days AND sleep in a shack for 40 days. I’m so grateful to God that the funds raised from this amazing effort will change the lives of so many people who otherwise face an early death.'

Already several houses are funded and donations can be made at  https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/davehall

The Man in a Shack will be stopping off at churches, schools and community centres each night. You can find his itinerary online at www.maninashack.com where you can also find out a lot more about the challenge and read his daily blog. 

You can also follow him on Twitter @dave404040 and on Facebook: Man in a Shack Challenge. Dave would be delighted to see anyone who can make it to one of the overnight points.

Baptist Times, 19/08/2014
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