Running the River for Charity

By Seren Nelson, Corporate Partnerships Officer

Seren gets sentimental about funding streams and river streams

Somewhere along my non-active, non-sporty lifestyle I spontaneously entered the ballot for the London Marathon 2016. I’m not sure how it happened really…

Looking back on that hazy moment I pressed the submit button while devouring a cooked breakfast, I admit, I never seriously expected to win a ballot place. As you can imagine, it was some shock when I did land that ballot spot!

It was clear that to achieve such a mammoth task, there was no way I could run this without a good cause in mind and quickly chose to raise funds for a charity that is at the heart of London and the environment – Thames21.

It’s not unusual to fundraise when running the London Marathon, but in my case, I’m fundraising for where I work. Now I know that the bunch of people I work with are great souls who are really passionate about their work, but the real reason I chose to fundraise for Thames21 is deeper than that.

“There is something not only calming but empowering running alongside such a forceful, historic river… And I’m not alone, this much you can witness any lunchtime when those “in training” swap their office shoes for trainers and pound the pavements that hug the river.”

Popping out for a run at lunchtime with the Thames as my companion is exhilarating and I can’t help but feel that each runner I pass is extremely privileged to be able to use this space. But it’s a shame more people don’t appreciate and use the Thames’ or its many tributaries. It’s a sad reality that many rivers and sections of the Thames are quite simply ignored by the majority of the local community.

Thames21 believes that for our country to maintain healthy waterways that benefit both people and wildlife, its local communities must feel a sense of ownership. Thames21’s mission is to do just that: reconnect people to rivers.

IMG_7093The charity offers a range of ways to reconnect with your local waterway – from guided walks and photography competitions to training sessions that empower the community in water quality monitoring and removing invasive species, such as Himalayan Balsam. Working for a charity that inspires this type of change makes me proud!

Thames21 also works on river restoration, education and advocacy work, but to continue ‘putting rivers at the heart of community life’, vital funding is needed. That’s why I couldn’t think of a better way to raise awareness for Thames21 in my personal life than by running the London Marathon 2016 and promoting its importance.

Be sure to look out for me as thousands flow from East to West along the meandering paths of the Thames on April 24. I’ll be the one admiring the river and drawing from its strength, rather than concentrating on my run!


How can you help?

You can donate to my marathon mission with this link to my fundraising page –


To discover more about fundraising for Thames21, get in touch:

Seren Nelson, Corporate Partnerships Officer –

Vincent Mok, Fundraising Officer –

All funds raised go towards our community projects and delivering our core aims across London.