A priest at St Mary's University, Twickenham is aiming to run 83 half marathons by the end of the year to raise money to replace a chapel organ.
Prof Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, also known as Fr Vlad, is hoping to complete 52 laps of the university´s Sir Mo Farah athletic track to raise £500,000.
“My aim is to give back to our Chapel its voice so that the beauty of its music may, once again, awaken and open hearts to our Creator, God,” Fr Vlad said.
The two numbers are particularly significant for Fr Vlad. 52 laps to commemorate 52 years as a priest and 83 to celebrate his 83 years of life. Speaking to Premier, Fr Vlad said the idea came about during a walk in the park.
“I went for a walk, as I did most days to Ravenscourt Park and my prayer was that of Bartimaeus: ‘Lord that I may see what you want me to do now’ and what came very quickly was that I could help St Mary’s University.”
“I thought, well, I'm 83 on this planet, 52 years a priest. So how about me walking 52 laps of the running track at St. Mary's 83 times? And that is what I went to and suggested to them. And they said: ‘that’s a brilliant idea’,” Fr Vlad continued.
Students, members of staff and even the vice-chancellor of the university have joined Fr Vlad during his laps. He aims to finish every lap in just under four hours.
He has completed 19 laps and raised £40,000 so far.
Fr Vlad went on to say what he is hoping to do with the new chapel organ.
“My dream is that, with the organ, we’ll be able to form a choir of disadvantaged children from the area, a bit like Gustavo Dudamel in Venezuela, but also in Leeds Diocese up in the North of England, they've set it up and it's worked very well because if we can get kids involved in something which is creative, rather than drug addiction or violence, it helps them identify themselves and perhaps keep in touch with the church and realise that liturgy can be life-enhancing immediately,” Fr Vlad concluded.