Team of Hitchin and Stevenage runners are committed to raising thousands for African children’s charity Roots Nursery School

Matt George, Daniel Ludford, Nicola Chandler, Shane Howard, Mark Mardlin, Jamie Ludford, Oliver Prit

Matt George, Daniel Ludford, Nicola Chandler, Shane Howard, Mark Mardlin, Jamie Ludford, Oliver Pritchard, Andrew Bliss and Marcus Platts before last year's race. - Credit: Archant

A group of determined fundraisers will be running the streets of London on Sunday to raise money for disadvantaged children in Africa.

Mark Mardlin.

Mark Mardlin. - Credit: Archant

The group from Stevenage and Hitchin aren’t athletes by their own admission but are committed to making a difference and raising money for the Roots Nursery School Charity by completing the British London 10k Run.

The charity’s founder Mark Mardlin said: “We’ve all come together again for a third year to make a difference.

“It’s been a fantastic day for the past two years and even if we’re not the fastest, it’s about doing something out of your comfort zone and helping a good cause.”

Business development manager Mark founded the charity in 2006 after seeing the immense poverty in Gambia.

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He was taking part in a Roots tour which traced the footsteps of Kunta Kinte – a central character in Alex Haley’s iconic novel – when he came across a school in western Gambian village of Juffureh. Despite only being six months old the building was falling apart and had a hole in the ground where the toilets should have been.

Mark was so upset with what he saw that he founded the charity when he came back to the UK and returned to the village the next year.

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He then paid to fix the building, gave the teachers a nominal salary, provided mosquito nets and gave uniforms to the school’s pupils.

Roots was given charitable status in 2009 and now works to help other schools in the area.

“It’s a continuing project,” said Mark.

“There’s so much work to be done and we’re just doing our bit to help. Over there a little bit of money goes a long way and everything raised on the day will go straight to the kids.”

Joining the team this year will be Sarah Lyn, who was inspired last year after watching her partner Jamie Ludford take part, and Myron Bartlett – who was the official photographer last year and has decided to swap his camera for running shoes.

The team are hoping to raise £5,000 which will be used to help transform a run down building into a new school for 100 pupils.

All of the runners have their own JustGiving pages which can be seen by visiting

For more about the charity visit

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