Alumnus embarks on fundraising challenge in friend’s memory
15 February 2016
Robert Chapman (MSc 2012) hopes to raise £25,000 for Motor Neurone Disease Research following the death of a friend and business colleague.
Motor Neurone Disease is a rare neurological condition that causes the degeneration of the motor system, resulting in weakness and wasting of the muscles. In July 2015 Robert’s friend and colleague Tony John passed away less than two years after being diagnosed.
Robert and Tony first met the day after he had been diagnosed in December 2013. Robert explains: “Tony and I met through work but became good friends and were in regular contact. Finding out he had Motor Neurone Disease really troubled me and I knew I wanted to do something to help.
By pure chance I met fellow long distance runner Alex Jungmayr in June 2015 at the DO Lectures in West Wales. Alex gave me the inspiration to run around the entirety of Wales so I decided to combine the ideas and am going to run around the whole of Wales to try and raise £25,000 for research into the disease, which kills five people per day.”
Robert spoke to Tony about his idea and both he and his wife Lynne gave their full support, which Robert notes was typically unselfish of his friend. Sadly, Tony passed away just a month later.
The Moonshadow challenge – so named because of the Cat Stevens song Tony loved – will see Robert run 1,030 miles (39 marathons). He will set off from Poppit Sands (between Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire) in on Friday 26 March and will complete the challenge at the same location on 30 July, the anniversary of Tony’s passing away last year.
Robert continues: “I run my own business so I will be undertaking the task at weekends. When I get to North Wales I’ll probably have to accommodate some long weekends as I’ll be so far from my usual work base in Cardiff, but I’m essentially looking at running at least a marathon distance per day, over weekends, over a period of around four months.
I’m keen that people don’t regard this as
some sort of macho exercise. It is more about a pragmatic attempt to complete
the challenge whilst also sustaining my business and domestic life. In some
ways I believe it to be a metaphor for the insidious Motor Neurone Disease.”
Robert studied the part-time MSc in Regeneration Studies at the School of Geography and Planning, graduating with distinction in 2012. He is based in Cardiff and is Director of Robert Chapman and Company – a commercial property, land and regeneration consultancy.