In 2006, London-based freelance translator Phil Goddard set off from New York City to walk to Los Angeles raising money for the Association for International Cancer Research. 9 months and more than 3,000 miles later he arrived on Venice Beach, California having raised well over £40,000 for vital cancer research around the world. On March 4th 2012 Phil swapped his walking boots for running shoes as he took part in the New Orleans 'Rock 'n' Roll' Marathon to add to that amazing total.
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Since his epic walk in 2006 - 2007 Phil has settled in New Orleans and is on his way to becoming a Southerner.
“This wouldn’t be everyone’s choice of a place to live,” Phil says. “Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the country, with the highest murder rate, and we spend half the year worrying about hurricanes. But I love the steamy heat and the slow pace of life: all our neighbours are close friends who’d rather sit on the porch and gossip than stare at a computer screen all day.
“I ran the London marathon for many years, but running here is different. The New Orleans marathon starts at 7 am because even in March, it gets too hot later on. And it’s also yet another excuse to drink. In London they hand out lemonade along the route; here, strangers thrust Bloody Marys into your hand.
“One thing that will keep me going is the money I’ll be raising for AICR. Another is the road tanker full of beer at the finish, with taps on the side for you to help yourself.”
“Another nice thing about New Orleans is that people use any pretext to dress up,” Phil says. “There’s Mardi Gras and Halloween, and there’s just for the hell of it. In the UK, I used to turn down invitations to costume parties, but now I have a wardrobe of outfits like everyone else.”