Of course, a four mile run, or indeed walk, can be a serious enough matter for many who lace up their Nikes and New Balances.
And this has nothing to do with the fact that the entire point of the event is to save lives in parts of the world where all too many people don’t have the strength to stand up, never mind stride.
The fun part of this year’s run will be on show as usual, but if the organizers are feeling a little less lighted hearted than they might have been, it’s to do with the fact that the business of saving lives in the less advantaged parts of the world has suddenly become a lot tougher to pay for.
And given the fact that Concern, and GOAL USA too, are both Irish in origin, the news that the Irish government is about to slash its allocation for overseas aid has turned the spring of 2009 into an extended winter of discontent.
“To cut overseas aid on this scale is hugely disproportionate. We realize that the Irish government finds itself with tough choices to make at home. However, this latest cut means that certain overseas projects, many of which are quite literally a matter of life or death, will be forced to close altogether or be scaled down significantly,” was Concern CEO Tom Arnold’s immediate reaction to the cuts announced by Irish finance minister Brian Lenihan in last week’s emergency budget.
“This will have very serious humanitarian ramifications in the developing world. This comes at a time when the developed world needs to keep its aid promises to the poorest developing countries,” he said.
Arnold added that this latest cut in Irish overseas aid was the fourth in just over 10 months. He pointed out that