This Sunday Jeremy Joseph is once again running the London Marathon to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and to increase worldwide equality awareness. There’s also loads happening at G-A-Y on Saturday. One of the ways he aims to do this is by breaking the world record for the most number of comments on a Facebook post and he needs your help to do it. Dave Cross spoke to Jeremy about what this involves and how breaking this record will help people across the world. G-A-Y.co.uk/marathon
Hi Jeremy, can you explain exactly what the world record is you are going for?
Yes, it’s the most number of comments on a Facebook post in eight hours. I will post a photo from the start line of the London Marathon on Sunday at around 10am and that’s what we want people to comment on.
And why are you doing it?
To raise the profile of worldwide equality. Everything we do is obviously about raising money but it’s also about raising awareness. By getting people to comment and hopefully breaking the world record we get to raise awareness about worldwide equality and ending HIV. There are many countries where it is still illegal to be gay and in those places people are not going to come forward to get tested for HIV, not only gay men but also women who are not seen as equal too. In those places you can’t educate, you can’t test, you can’t do anything. There can never be an end to AIDS and HIV until there is an end to worldwide inequality.
This is not the first world record you’ve gone for…
The first one was the most number of people tested for HIV in eight hours, which we set and then broke the following year.
How will breaking this record help the fundraising for EJAF and worldwide equality awareness?
The idea is to engage people and find new ways to make people read about it and think about it, which leads to more understanding.
What is the target? How many comments do you need?
We need more than 33,000 comments. But here’s the good bit; you can comment as many times as you like, as long as you don’t repeat the comment. So as long as you say something different each time you can make as many comments as you want. Also if you tag people when you comment than hopefully they will comment as well.
So you just need people to comment on that post on Sunday?
Yes, between 10am and 6pm. If you go to G-A-Y.co.uk/marathon it takes you to the photo and all everyone has to do is make a comment. It’s really important that you don’t share or like it, just comment and also please tag friends so that they comment too. It is so easy.
And you need people to sponsor you as well of course…
Yes, absolutely. When people make their comment there will be a link there to the G-A-Y Virgin Money Giving page. Hopefully one of the effects of over 33,000 people commenting will be people seeing it and deciding to donate something as well. It’s all about trying to engage people and using social media, which is the world we live in now, to get people’s attention.
How quickly will you find out if you’ve broken the world record?
I’m not sure, a few days I guess, it all has to be verified and checked by the Guinness World Record people. We will get a rough idea on the day of course, if there’s only 20,000 comments then we will know that we haven’t broken it. I have to say that although it will be amazing if we do break the record, it’s really about engaging with people. I want to create a debate to get people talking about what is happening in other parts of the world such as Chechnya and other places. We can be a very complacent society, as we get more freedoms we forget about the rest of the world and that’s what this is all about. Also as things have improved with the treatment for HIV and AIDS here it has become more difficult to raise money for it; people relate to what affects their lives and it’s becoming harder to engage with people now. The HIV charities have fallen down people’s list of priorities so this is to remind them what vital work charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation do.
Last year you did the marathon in a really good time – what’s your target this year?
Yes, last year was my personal best of 3 hours and a few seconds over 59 minutes. It’s great when you do a good time, but the real achievement is actually finishing it. Between the 20 and 26 mile section is absolute hell; it’s agony and I stress about it every year. Obviously we want people to comment but it is also amazing and so encouraging to see people on the route. And it’s not just me, if you know someone who is running, for any cause, come down on Sunday and give them a cheer. Take a photo of them and post it on my Facebook with the link to the charity they are running for and we can support that as well. Every single person who is running deserves your support.
G-A-Y London Marathon Fundraiser: Saturday 22 April, 10.30pm – 5am
Come along to Heaven this Saturday (22 Apr) and help Jeremy with his fundraising.
Win a trip to the New York Marathon, including flights and hotel – just sign up at G-A-Y to their Thunderclap at http://tinyurl.com/thunderclapReminder.
Plus the there’s the Drag Treadmill, when you can sponsor a drag queen to run while you dance.