LONDON - A British-Filipino athlete is set to run the Virgin London Marathon to raise funds for a charity organization promoting Philippine culture.
Michael Castro, an information technology engineer from Westminster, has been training rigorously for the past few months in preparation for Britain's largest annual marathon.
“I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” he said, including carefully watching his diet and “not going out much.”
He has also been running for 30 miles three times a week since November 2010.
The 31-year-old is hoping to raise funds for Philippine Generations, a London-based charity organization promoting Filipino heritage through socio-cultural initiatives.
“We need to receive the acknowledgement we deserve and highlight our status,” said Castro, who previously completed half-marathons in Budapest, Greenwich, and Silverstone.
“Not only do I want to raise funds for a good cause, but I also want to inspire younger Filipinos to believe in themselves, pursue their goals, and hopefully one day achieve what they want to.”
Proceeds from the marathon will be used to fund projects by the British Filipino group, which in the past included Tagalog lessons and parol-making workshops.
“This charity run means a lot for the organization,” said Mae Williams from Philippine Generations. “It means that Filipinos are seen in the wider British public. It means that we have a presence in the community. And also to raise funds for our initiatives this year. We would like to put it in lots of different projects like the Philippine Independence Day Football Cup in June.”
Castro, a sports enthusiast, was “lucky” to secure a spot in the marathon through the lottery selection system. Spaces are extremely limited and are mostly allocated through major charities and UK athletics clubs. This is the first time for both Castro and Philippine Generations to be involved in one of the world’s biggest charity events.
Williams, who is thrilled with the opportunity, is urging Filipinos to support the run: “To have those Filipino flags around the track when Michael is running would be inspirational.”
The 2011 Virgin London Marathon will take place on April 17, starting from Blackheath in the Southeast to Pall Mall near the Buckingham Palace.
Thousands of runners from around the world will run approximately 25 miles to raise funds for hundreds of charities supporting a myriad of causes.
For more information, visit www.philippinegenerations.org.