Ever spent three hours on the tube? This week, Comment brings you Somerville’s Ella Waldman, who ran the length of theNorthern line, visiting every one of its 34 stops and covering an over-ground distance of 24 miles in under 180 minutes. Better known at Oxford for her talents as an actress, Ella is also a keen runner, achieving a full Blue in cross-country in her first year. On her one-woman marathon, Ella wore a vest which read “rail replacement service ‘running’”, learnt that Morden was “fugly” and raised a cool £3000.
The money went to Accion Callejera Fundacion Educativa (AC), a small Dominican charityin Santiago that works with some of the most deprived street-kids in the world. Ella spent eight months with the charity during her gap year in 2010. Most of her time was spent in AC’s main centre, where children living on the street are given access to food, informal learning, psychological support and medical care. Many of the young people she met were involved in drug gangs or suffered other forms of exploitation. Ella set up and ran an English and Art course for the younger children. When her former student, aged ten, won a national competition to design a book cover, Ella was “deeply touched”. She is a keen supporter of AC’s work: “AC’s a place where children can literally put aside their shoe-shine box and enjoy being a child for a few hours. Some of the improvements that have been made in individuals and in the communities are quite amazing, given how horrific the reality of some of the places are.’
Taking a break from treading the boards, Ella is once again training for Oxford’s cross-country team. “I’d like to run the Central line next.”