A bank employee who has received royal recognition for his charity work plans to run 100 marathons to raise even more money, writes Mattie Brignal.
Cesar Mendez, from Crystal Palace, has already run 15 marathons and raised £10,000 for good causes.
Prince Charles awarded Mr Mendez the WaterAid President’s Award because of his fundraising efforts for the charity.
Mr Mendez said: “I didn’t expect it at all.
“Receiving the award means a lot to me and I am very touched.”
This isn’t the first time Mr Mendez has been recognised for his marathon feats.
He was invited to Downing Street to meet then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 as a thank you for his work with UNICEF.
His next goal is to raise £250,000 by running dozens of marathons all over the world.
“My initial plan was to run seven marathons, one on every continent,” Mr Mendez said.
He has traveled to India with WaterAid to meet some of the people his fundraising is helping.
He said: “I saw girls with massive containers on their heads who had to walk for two hours to fetch water.
“Meeting people in India and seeing the power of the charity’s work in action has inspired me even more to keep running to make sure everyone, everywhere has their basic right of access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.”
Mr Mendez decided to increase his target to 100 marathons, which he hopes to complete by 2030.
“I’m very passionate about this cause. Water is a human right,” he said.
His next marathons will be in Porto, Marrakech, Stockholm, Rome and Frankfurt.
Mr Mendez’s most grueling run to date was in Sydney. “I had to shave my head the night before the race because it was so hot,” he said.
He ran for four hours with a water bucket strapped to his head to raise awareness for WaterAid.
“It was tough – my heart rate got to 208 BPM.”
He also completed a half marathon dressed as a tap.
But Mr Mendez doesn’t think of marathons as terrible ordeals. “I’ve been running all my life – it’s natural for me,” he said.
His busy running schedule takes up all his holiday time. “It’s hard to find time to visit my family,” he said.
“My mum thinks I’m crazy.”
Mr Mendez will use his running to raise awareness of UNICEF’s Sustainable Development Goal for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene which aims to improve global access to clean water and decent sanitation by 2030.
Tim Wainwright, chief executive at WaterAid said: “Cesar’s passion and drive to raise money and awareness inspires us all.
“The President’s Award is our way of saying thank you for all he is doing to support our work.”
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