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Finding balance through running

Published: 17 Sep 2019

Richard O’Hara works at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 13 October to raise vital funds for Working Families.

Five minutes. That’s the typical amount of time it takes me at the end of a half marathon to transition from “I’m never doing that again” to “when’s the next one?”. Something about a snazzy medal, a free t-shirt and a general sense that I can do a little better next time seems to spur me on. Next in my sights is the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London this October.

I’m delighted that I’m running this year’s Royal Parks half on behalf of Working Families. The charity helps working parents and carers—and their employers—find a better balance between responsibilities at home and in the workplace. They do this through providing free legal advice to parents and carers on their rights at work; giving employers the tools they need to support their employees while creating a flexible, high-performing workforce; and influencing policy through campaigns informed by ground-breaking research.

I think it’s really important to find the right balance between responsibilities at home and in the workplace. I work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – a Working Families employer member – and I’m very fortunate that they’re committed to getting that balance right. My work for the FCO has taken me all over the world and given me some truly amazing experiences. Like most jobs, it’s had its fair share of challenging and busy moments. But I have found that taking the time to run, including training for half marathons, has been a really helpful part of maintaining the right balance between work and home. This has been especially true during my postings overseas, whether it’s been hours spent on a treadmill in a converted shipping container in Afghanistan, ill-judged runs in 45°C heat in New Delhi, or a truly awe-inspiring half marathon around Angkor Wat in Cambodia as the sun slowly rose.

I’m very much looking forward to the Royal Parks Half Marathon, both for the chance to raise some money for a great charity and to raise awareness for an important cause. And five minutes after I’m done, with a snazzy medal around my neck, I’m sure I’ll start thinking about the next one.

Help Richard support working parents and carers across the UK: donate to his half marathon today!


National Work Life Week 2019 runs from 7-11 October. The week is Working Families’ annual initiative that gives employers the chance to showcase how they provide work life balance for their staff.

Join the conversation using #WorkLifeWeek and tweet us @workingfamUK to tell us how you find work life balance.

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