Running with a social purpose

Ishbel supports Refettorio Felix in the Manchester Marathon 2021

In October 2021, Ishbel ran the Manchester Marathon in aid of Refettorio Felix. She and her fiance, Rory, are planning to hold their wedding in our beautiful hall this December, and after learning about the work we do here, Ishbel decided to make those 26 miles go even further by fundraising for us. Ishbel and her supporters raised a staggering £2k for us – we’re so grateful for her generosity and determination! We caught up with her after the race to learn more…

What made you decide to run the Manchester marathon?
A marathon’s been on my bucket list for a while, and I’ve been a frequent runner since training for my first half marathon in 2011. During lockdown I was lucky enough to keep working but at home, giving me so much extra time back that would have been spent commuting. As my distances were clocking up I realised I should just go for it as I might never have as much time to put into training ever again.

How did you find the whole experience – from training, running the actual race, your feelings after this achievement?
Honestly brilliant! Running is essential for me – the benefits for mental health really are true, so although the training was time-consuming it never really felt like a chore. I only gave myself two months from signing up to race day so it was full on but great. The race day was amazing – perfect blue sky but not too hot, amazing Mancunian crowds (my favourite was the kids shouting ‘United or Citaaay?’ to all the runners passing them by) and the run itself went to plan and training paid off. I had a great support team who came up to cheer me on so we had a fun celebration afterwards. I’m still so pleased with the achievement, especially as people have been so generous in donating to support Refettorio Felix.

Why did you decide to fundraise for us?
I’m getting married at Refettorio Felix later this year so it felt like the absolutely perfect cause for me. I’m a huge fan of everything the team does in the beautiful space and behind the scenes – that was a huge reason why we chose it as a venue for our wedding. I was very aware of how lucky I was during lockdown that the main change in my life was having more time to do something I love, so I absolutely wanted to make sure that I could put it to good use, knowing full well how different other people’s experience of the pandemic has been, and continues to be.

Any words of advice encouragement for others who might be thinking of running for charity?
Absolutely DO IT. Whether it is a 5km or an Ultramarathon, having a goal, a good training plan and extra accountability when you are fundraising will help you to get out of bed when you would rather be snoozing, lace up your trainers and get outside. You won’t ever regret a run, and knowing that you can help other people by doing something that is good for your health is totally win-win.

As we’re a food charity, we’re super nosy about what people like to eat – so what would be your death row meal?
Impossible question and something I have agonised over many times before. It would have to be about 20 courses to fit in all my favourite things, a few of which being – bao from Momofuku, endless gyoza, fresh Peruvian ceviche, simple Italian pizza, and my mum’s orange and almond polenta cake.

Thank you so much, Ishbel! If you’re interested in fundraising for us, or hiring our venue for an event, please get in touch!