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As Valentines Day is fast approaching, Emily Bell thought she would do a wee interview with some dudes legging it round London with a little thing called ‘Run for Love’. She caught up with Rob Martineau himself, a good friend and member of the crazy threesome, to find out just what it’s all about. Look away if you don’t want to feel lazy…

* So how did this all happen? Can you tell us a bit about your project.

The project is called Run for Love 1000. In a nutshell it’s a 1000 mile run across Eastern Europe to raise awareness about the scale of human trafficking in Europe, and to raise money for Love146, a charity that fights child trafficking. The 3 of us who set it up, Tom Stancliffe, Guy Hacking and myself, are aiming to run from Odessa in Ukraine to Dubrovnik in Croatia in April and hope as many runners as possible will join for segments of the run, Forrest Gump style.

We devised the project after finishing Marathon des Sables last year. We were keen to do another run, but this time to try a longer one. At the time there was lots being written about child trafficking and we were shocked by that. We wanted to do something to help and Love146 seemed like the perfect charity to support.


* Talk about your charity?

Love146 are working to end child trafficking and sexual exploitation. They work to prevent it happening at source and to care for the victims. They have set up a home in the Philippines which provides aftercare to children who have been trafficked and work across Europe, Asia and the USA to increase awareness, provide survivor care, and educate vulnerable groups about the threat of trafficking.

* What do you plan to achieve for your charity?

The aim is to raise £150,000 to enable Love146 to build the first trauma recovery centre in the UK dedicated to the aftercare of trafficked children.

* Who came up with the name?

That was a combination of us and the charity. Love146 already put on a half marathon which is called Run for Love and we added the 1000. In the context of the cause, running for love is a concept we liked.

* How did your friends/ family take it when you told them what you were going to do?

They’re excited about it. Lots of friends are coming out to run 100+ miles with us and even more coming to run the final day in Dubrovnik.

* Why Eastern Europe?

Partly because a number of countries we are passing have high rates of outbound human trafficking and we want to raise awareness about the issue in these places. Also because the landscapes are beautiful there and so it should be a wonderful part of the world to run in.

RFL-1000 Europe Map[1]

* Can anyone join in? How can you do this?

YES! Anyone can join for as long or as little as they like. We have 50 or so runners coming out for 100+ miles and we are putting on a 16 mile organised trail run to coincide with the final day of the project (May 4th 2013) in the countryside outside Dubrovnik. More details about the run and registration are atwww.runforlove1000.com

* Are you worried about friends/ randoms keeping up/ getting on out there? Is there a selection process or is it the more the merrier?

More the merrier! Lots of people are walking the final day, which is a beautiful course, and should be a lot of fun. People joining for the 100 miles+ stages need to know what they are getting into and be ready for it, but speed doesn’t matter. There will be no car with us or medical support (except for the final day) so all runners need to be prepped to carry everything they need, to navigate themselves, to sleep on the roadside and to keep going day-by-day. Although there is no formal support there will be a great sense of camaraderie and we’ll all be looking out for one another.

* What is your training schedule/ How are you preparing for this?

It varies but the key I think is getting used to running for long days with a backpack. Last Saturday we ran from London to Oxford (55 miles) and next weekend we are running in the New Forest with a team of the Run for Love runners (50 miles over 2 days). We are lucky to have two training partners – Full Potential and Pure Sports Medicine – who are helping the runners with their preparations.

* What has been the hardest thing to pull together so far?

There has been so much going on with the project – putting on the half marathon, the launch party, web design, media, signing up runners, training, fundraising… I guess managing all that around our jobs has been the hardest thing.


* Do you have any sponsors?

Not yet…. We’d love a corporate sponsor, so if you know anyone who might be interested please put them in touch!

* How will you be documenting the journey? Go Pro?

We are speaking with a film maker at the moment. At the least there will be video diaries, together with daily blogs and photos online.

* What are you most scared of happening on the expedition?

Probably injury to be honest. Although more exciting  threats have been mentioned (wild dogs, bears, snow storms…)

* What are you most excited to see/ experience?

Save Croatia I’ve never been to any of the 9 countries we’re passing. Running through them should be an adventure. Having lots of runners joining as we near the end will also be amazing.

* What will be your biggest comfort food/ kit wise?

Sadly as we’re carrying everything comforts are likely to be in short supply. I guess a Snickers bar – full of energy.

* What/ who will you miss the most?

People mainly. And my bicycle.


* Do you have a lucky souvenir?

I have a shemagh which I always take when I go away. That and a St Christopher a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago.

* What/ who do you think will annoy you the most?

Probably my feet.

* What will be on your playlist?

I actually don’t listen too much when running. When I need a boost I play the Waterboys: Fisherman’s Blues.

* How do you think you will cope with being with each other for such a long time in such close proximity?

We’ll see…. We’ve done a number of trips together in the past so know each other pretty well. At the end of the day we know we can rely on one another and although of course they’ll be minor arguments, we work well together.

* Is there anything you can’t live without?

For this trip, trainers

* Are you already dreaming about running?

It’ll be time to stop if that starts happening

* If you could be any animal what would you be and why?

A cheetah.

* How can we follow the journey? Donate? Help?

The usual suspects… TwitterFBwebsite. There’s lots going on and the journey should be a fun one to follow. As mentioned we’d love as many people as possible to come out and run. Details on how are online. Any donations would of course be amazing too. People can donate via a link on our website. Love146 really needs the support and is doing incredible things…

* What advice do you have for other people wanting to put together big expeditions like this?

Think big and take time to plan it well.

* What other things have to done? 

I spent a year cycling across Africa and the Middle East two years ago. Since then I’ve been working as a trainee lawyer in London, and recently doing far too much running.

* What have you got planned in the future?

I have a trip I am planning to do later this year in Africa, although for now all my focus is on Run for Love.