I Ran the World is not a book about sport or running. It is a book about an era in time and one man’s dream to change the world.
People talk about the 60s as a time of unrest and social change. The 80s were a time of global consciousness and a willingness of individuals to take responsibility for others, no matter where they were or the conditions they faced. It was a time of global events to raise awareness and funds for people in need.
The movement began with Bob Geldof and Live Aid. It continued with Sport Aid, Hands Across America, Canada’s Northern Lights and The First Earth Run. It was a time when people removed responsibility from the hands of charitable and non-governmental organizations and took action themselves – individually and collectively.
The movement started with music – Live Aid, Tears Are Not Enough, We Are the World, Do They Know It’s Christmas?
But Chris Long had a vision and a dream. He believed that people could do more than listen to music and make donations – they could actively engage in the cause – and what better vehicle than sport?
I Ran the World is his story.
It is the story of how one man mobilised a team of 130 young volunteers in a small office in London, secured the support of huge organizations like Band Aid and UNICEF and then mobilised 20 million people around the world to run and demand action for Africa.
It is the story of these young tireless volunteers working long into the night every day for months, refusing to take no for an answer.
It is how Chris Long convinced Jim Grant, the Executive Director of UNICEF, to make Sport Aid a centrepiece in bringing the message of the people to the UN Special Session on Africa in May 1986. It is the story of how all of this happened and what the results and consequences of Sport Aid really were.
Finally, it is a challenge to the young people of today to pick up the torch and run with it, finding their own way to change and affect the world in which they live.
I Ran the World tells the story of Chris’ passion to make a difference and how it led him to his vision for Sport Aid. It describes the challenges of getting Bob Geldof, Band Aid and UNICEF, the British Royals, British Airways, various governments and hundreds of road running organizations to support his vision. It tells the story of the challenges and ultimate heartbreak of Sport Aid ’88. But it also tells the story of hope with Earthdive and Chris’s continuing struggle to make a difference – this time through citizen scientists protecting our oceans and reefs.
Finally, it provides a blue print for the next global event – using our latest communication technology and recognizing the short attention spans and lifestyles of young people today.
It is a passionate, at times funny and often insightful look at how one man and a group of like-minded people truly made a difference to the world in which they lived.
John C Anderson Ph.D.
International Strategic Marketing Inc.