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Norwich vicar runs marathon for Water Aid

Philip Young marathonNorwich vicar Rev Philip Young successfully completed the London Marathon on Sunday and raised over £7k for development charity Water Aid – but his race has not yet finished.

Philip is vicar of st Thomas' Church, Heigham in Norwich. He ran the marathon wearing a tap on his hat to raise awareness of Water Aid's cause. He has raised £7,664 so far and has the ambitious target of £100,000. Philip has pledged to wear his tap hat until he reaches this target. 


Here he answers some questions about his experience of the marathon and his motivation behind it.


What was your time?

4 hours 40 minutes 59 seconds. I had hoped to do less than 4 hours 30minutes but it was a hot day and I'm getting older, 58 years old! but above all I was pleased to finish and, in the end, the time is not that important - just something to aim at for personal reasons! Lots of people seem to be struggling with the heat, but it wasn't as bad as 2007!


What was the high point?

Quite a few high points I just love gathering at the start and standing with all those others doing the marathon - a real buzz feeling. Seeing Tower Bridge for me is always a high point as you know you are nearly half way and it must be the most beautiful bridge in all the world! 


I love the encouragement from the crowd. People love the tap on the hat and they shout 'Come on Reverend Philip' or 'Well done Rev' or 'Come on Father' and it's a real help when you are tired and flagging. The very highest point is the thought of raising money for Water Aid and knowing that it is helping to bring healthy water and sanitation to those in need of it.

How did it feel crossing the line?

This year the finishing line was most welcome as the last few miles were a bit of a struggle. You soon forget the pain and start enjoying the fact that you have made it to the finish again - for me the fifth London Marathon and the only race I run as it is the best in the whole world.


Were there any low points?

It's always a shame when you have to walk and I had to do that a few times this year. I did OK in the East End and was pushing it a bit too much enjoying egging on the crowd by blessing them with the sign of the cross and encouraging them to shout by raising both hands with palms up. Miles 20 to 23 were the most difficult as you are still a bit away from the finish and you just run out of energy.

What do you remember the most?

I remember the atmosphere most - just such a good feel good factor. The Water Aid cheering points are such an encouragement - so, thanks to those who were there - it does make a huge difference.

How was the tap hat?

I had the usual tap on the hat, with dog collar and the 'Reverend Philip' written on my shirt, and this year a Palm Cross pinned to my shirt. For me it was significant that the marathon was on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It is the day when Jesus showed that he was not a warrior King but a servant King coming not to Lord it over others, but to serve the needs of others. And to give people clean water is such a basic way to look after people that it seem obvious to me that we should stop fighting wars and instead join with others to care for one another and to love one another. To provide clean water is such a basic human need that we should make it a priority on our world.

Would you do it again?

Well I've done it five times so far and enjoyed it every time - it's always painful on the body, but a real tonic to the soul and the spirit. I may well be tempted to do it again!

What is the motivation behind what you are doing?

In John's Gospel Jesus is reported as talking about the living water that he gives us. When people drink this water then they will never be thirsty again. The water will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life. (John Chapter 4).

The need for good clean physical water and the need for living water that gives eternal life is linked. When people do not have good clean physical water then they get sick and die. A child dies every twenty seconds in our world of a water related disease. Without good clean physical water people cannot even begin to live.  They cannot be well and if they are not well then they cannot access education and all the other things that make life worth living.  They will find it very difficult to appreciate the living water that God gives, unless they have their physical needs met by good clean healthy water.  They need to be physically healthy as a basic requirement, and then they may fully appreciate the spiritual living water that God offers them.

Wouldn't it be great to send £100,000 to Water Aid as a sign that the God of love is active in Norfolk and Norwich and that we care for those who don't have clean physical water?

Click here to sponsor Reverend Philip Young online or send a cheque made payable to 'Water Aid' to the Philip at St. Thomas' Vicarage, 77 Edinburgh Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 3RL

The Water Aid website is


Article printed from at 05:47 on 18 January 2020