An ex-pat who has raised almost €1million for children’s charities across the world paid a visit to Pollokshields, and a cause close to his heart, this week.
John McGurk (55) has spent 24 years running all over the world, from Africa to New York, Warsaw, Jerusalem and Brazil, and raising much-needed cash through his own charity, Sportler 4 a children’s world.
The Glaswegian-born papermill worker now lives in Germany, but he’s “still a true and proud Scotsman” — which is why he always runs in a signature kilt.
Now, John is gearing up for a non-stop run from Osnabrück to Glasgow next June, pausing only on a ferry crossing — all in aid of Children 1st.
The runner will cover the equivalent of a marathon a day, taking in Holland, Newcastle, Lockerbie, Kelso, Kinbuck and Edinburgh.
Visiting the Children 1st office in Pollokshields, John told The Extra: “I was born in Glasgow into a very deprived situation and was, sadly, abused when I was sent a children’s home. My childhood died then. But I try my best to believe in God and goodness, and I swore for as long as I lived, I’d be on the road to help children.”
The dad-of-three continued: “It has been in my heart all the time to do something in Scotland, but the time wasn’t right. The thing that really tipped it was I read that one in three children in Scotland live in poverty. I couldn’t get my head round that.
“I know these children have so much potential. And I hope my story shows what they’re capable of, if they believe it. It’s very important to me to send that message; that I came out of it and so can they.
“It’s my 25th year of fundraising next year and I definitely want to keep going for another 25, and make it to the 50 mark.”
Alison Todd, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “John is a total inspiration and we’re grateful to him and his team for organising this epic event, which will help children and their families across Scotland.
“He’s never forgotten his roots and we hope the people of Glasgow and beyond will come out and encourage the team across the line.”
To follow John’s journey, visit www.justgiving.com/1in3run, or text WEAN55 to 70070 and make a £5 donation.