The International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians began in 2005 with a group of Rotarians coming together to run the Paris Marathon. In 2006 the Fellowship received it’s charter recognition and since that first run together in Paris, the group gathers once a year somewhere around the world to participate in a long distance running event together. Not only do they run together, but the Fellowship also makes an annual contribution to End Polio.
Rachel Cole, of the Summerville Evening Rotary Club, joined the Fellowship in 2015 as the Fellowship returned to Paris for the celebration of the 10th running event
together. When joining the Fellowship, Rachel was the only participant from the United States and continues to be the only active member of the Fellowship since the Fellowship was in the States for the New York Marathon in 2008. While in Paris, Rachel was asked to serve as the US Representative for the Fellowship. Rachel also attended the International Conference in Atlanta, GA to help represent the Fellowship in the House of Friendship.
In 2018 the group met in Queenstown, New Zealand for the marathon in November. The group participated in the marathon, half marathon, and 10k runs. The travel destination was much further for the majority of Fellowship members, as most are located in Europe, so the annual turnout was a bit smaller than when in European countries. But, that didn’t stop the group from having wonderful time! Thanks to the gathering in 2018 the Fellowship is able to donate around $1,700 to the End Polio Fund, a great achievement for the smaller group of around 35 people that gathered this year.
While in New Zealand, Rachel was inducted as the President Elect for the Fellowship. Rachel is the first woman President Elect and the first US Representative to hold a board position for the Fellowship. This presents an exciting opportunity for Rotarian runners in the States as Rachel will be focusing on increasing US membership and possibly bringing a run to the US for the Fellowship in the next 2 to 4 years.
In the meantime, Rachel will be training to join the group again in 2019. This year’s event will be in August and they will meet in Reykjavik, Iceland for the marathon. The week prior to the run many of the members will enjoy a weeklong tour together around the country. It’s a great time for Rotarian Fellowship and Fun! The Fellowship is open to all Rotarians for a lifetime membership fee of 100 Euros. You can find out more about the Fellowship by visiting www.rotarianrun.org or by reaching out to Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.