In the lead-up to Femili PNG’s fundraising event at the Australian Running Festival to be held in Canberra from 13-14 April, we are profiling some of the runners who are part of Femili PNG’s team.
Our first runner is Michael Howes. Michael is competing in his first-ever marathon event. He is a student of mathematics, currently in his Honours year at the Australian National University (ANU).
We sat down with Michael to ask him some questions about running and his involvement and interest in Femili PNG.
We are really grateful for your fundraising and support of Femili PNG. Do you think marathon running will become a regular event for you?
This will be my first marathon, but I’m not sure how many more I will end up doing. I definitely want to do more running, but in the future I may stick to slightly shorter distances. But I am looking forward to seeing if I can do it. I’ve been slowly working my way up to being able to run the 42 kilometres. I’m mostly trying to run the marathon to see if I can do it, but you never know, I may wind up hooked.
What sort of training are you doing to prepare for the event?
I found a beginners marathon program online and I’ve been following that to build up my fitness. Basically, I’ve been doing short runs during the week (around 10 kms), with slightly longer runs on the weekends. Last Sunday, I ran 26 kms around Lake Burley Griffin. This was really beautiful – the Balloon Festival was on and I got to see all of the hot-air balloons floating over Canberra as I was running.
The aim is to build up to running 32 kms two weeks before the Running Festival. The amount of running tapers down in the week or so before the run, and I will only attempt the full marathon on the day of the race. By doing this, I’ll hopefully reduce the risk of injury.
How did you become involved with Femili PNG?
I initially became involved through my father, who is the Chair of Femili PNG. My interest in Femili PNG and its work deepened through meeting others who work for Femili PNG – the past Development Managers, such as Lindy Kanan, and the visiting staff from PNG such as Denga Ilave, Operations Director from Lae. I have been completely inspired by the people who work with Femili PNG.
Femili PNG is a good charity that does important work. It is impossible to compare the levels of domestic violence and abuse that many people suffer in Papua New Guinea to the life that I lead here. This makes me want to support the great work of Femili PNG and gives me extra motivation to run.
What is your interest in aid and development?
I became interested in aid and development because of my parents. My father works in development, and my mother is a very caring person.
I’m inspired by the writings of Peter Singer and the concept of effective altruism – a part of which is the idea that if you donate regularly to charity, a lot of good can be done for not much money. It also encourages people to think about how their money can achieve valuable development outcomes in developing countries. ANU has an Effective Altruism group, which I have been involved in over the last year. I see supporting Femili PNG as part of helping people in need.
If anyone is interested in learning more about Peter Singer and effective altruism, check out this blog.
To sponsor Michael in the Running Festival, and support the work of Femili PNG, visit our fundraising page.
Interested in being part of the team? See here for further details.