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Marathon challenge for Argentina based journalism graduate

He’s nearly 7,000 miles from home but is running a marathon to raise money for Britain’s needy.

Jonathan Gilbert, a Buenos Aires-based UCLan alumnus, is putting his best forward for the Citizens Advice Bureau.

“I started training in the first week of July and the longest distance I have covered is 30km. Running in Buenos Aires is a pleasure: through huge parks, down leafy boulevards, and along the river estuary where locals fish, and cook sausages and pork on barbecues.

I enjoy jogging, but I've never run a full 26-mile marathon before. It's going to be quite a challenge since I'm aiming to break the four-hour mark,” he said

So why is he running for the CAB which provides a free service to help people tackle their problems, particularly legal and financial ones?

“My mum has worked there for years and I grew up hearing stories of people facing eviction from their homes; threatened with deportation to countries where their lives were in danger; or struggling with debt.”

Separately, the 25-year-old Mancunian is also donating 25 per cent of anything he raises to St Ann’s Hospice in his home city.

“I was so grateful for the way its staff cared for my grandpa before he died of cancer last year. I will run in his memory in a Bolton Wanderers shirt.”

Jonathan, who’s fluent in Spanish, has carved out a successful career as a foreign correspondent since moving to the Argentine capital after completing UCLan’s postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism two years ago.

He files regularly for the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today and has travelled widely covering the presidential elections in Venezuela and Paraguay and the Papal visit to Argentina. His work has appeared in Time magazine and he also services a number of British outlets such as The Daily Telegraph and The Sun.

Some of his more unusual pieces have included Jewish cowboys on the Pampas and a feature for The Guardian about a children’s orchestra in Paraguay whose instruments are forged from salvaged landfill material.

“Jonathan was a great all-rounder and his linguistic ability, determination and natural writing ability, coupled with a “can-do” attitude, has allowed him to succeed in covering a region about which he cares passionately,” said his former tutor Delwyn Swingewood.

At home friends and family call him Jon, but Argentinians struggle to pronounce it and he’s known as “Shon”. If you want to help “Shon” reach his £1000 target, go to his page on Just Giving.

View a selection of Jonathan’s journalism.