By Lutz Bachmann, president of the International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians (IMFR) and member of The Rotary E-Club of London Centenary
On 17 November, 2018, my alarm clock went off at 05:30 reminding me it’s race day! I quickly got up, ate my pre-packed breakfast and changed into my running gear to meet my friends of the International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians (IMFR), who had gathered from various corners of the world for the marathon, half marathon, and 10k in Queenstown, New Zealand. The sun was shining bright, but it was still brisk at this early hour. I boarded a bus that took all of us IMFR fellows to the starting area of the races, in the mountains outside the city. Full of excitement and all dressed in our brand new blue shirts with the RotarianRun slogan on them, we took on the challenge and off we ran, for ourselves, for fellowship, and to end polio. We ran through scenic landscapes, mountains, lakes, and narrow trails. At some point we asked ourselves the unavoidable question of “Why do I do this?” until we all eventually crossed the finish line, let the strain fall off, and just celebrated.
You have certainly heard about the main theme that unites about 1.2 million Rotarians organized in more than 34,000 clubs worldwide. They are dedicated to make a change through supporting education and job training, providing clean water, combating hunger, and improving health and sanitation.
A key feature of all Rotary clubs and the global community of Rotarians is fellowship. Rotarians do not only unite in service, but also in sharing their hobbies and specific interests. If you are a Rotarian interested in long distance running, you will find inspiring friends and fellowship through the International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians, where members come together to enjoy running marathons, half marathons, or 10K ‘sprints’ at interesting destinations across the world.
The International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians (IMFR) is one of more than 80 recognized Rotary Fellowships. Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.