Meet the ILBF’s Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon runners: Rebecca Zaman

Rebecca Zaman, barrister at 3 Verulam Buildings, is running the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon for the ILBF. The money raised will pay for shipments of legal texts across the world.

Katrina Crossley, ILBF Chief Executive, spoke to Rebecca about her reasons for running and her training progress so far…

What inspired you to want to help raise money for the ILBF?

Some years ago, I had the opportunity to work in Mbabane, Swaziland, with a local NGO.  I worked with two inspiring Swazi lawyers (one at the NGO, the other a professor and advocate) in preparing that country’s first ever amicus curiae application, on behalf of the NGO.  The NGO wanted to make submissions against the eviction of a community of 80 families from traditional land.   There was no precedent in Swaziland for the kind of application we were trying to make, nor for the legal submissions we wished to put before the court.  We borrowed procedural rules and jurisprudence on property law and human rights from Swaziland’s Southern African neighbours, as well as from India, England, and other common law countries.

One of the earliest challenges we faced in formulating our application was a lack of legal resources.  The NGO itself had no legal books, and even the library at the university had few books.  I saw first-hand how the gap in resources hindered local lawyers from pursuing worthy cases and even, at the university itself, in the education and training of law students.  Nevertheless, the Swazi lawyers persisted – and achieved their aim.

After Swaziland, research and travels took me to other places, from Accra in Ghana to Dehradun in India, where I witnessed the same problem: dedicated lawyers hampered by a lack of resources.  There’s no silver bullet for the difficulties faced by any of these lawyers, but the work of the ILBF in sending high-quality legal resources where they are needed seems to me a neat, respectful and empowering way that we can assist our fellow lawyers in their work, and in our common goal of upholding the rule of law around the world.

I’m very grateful to my senior colleague in Chambers, Paul Lowenstein QC, who is a trustee of ILBF and has encouraged me to support ILBF’s work with this half-marathon.  (I may feel less grateful after actually running the half-marathon…)

Have you taken part in any marathons or half-marathons before?

No – running any distance to which the word “marathon” applies (even with a modifier like “half”) is a brave new world to me!  My closest comparison is a long-distance endurance hike:  back in 2010 I completed the Oxfam Trailwalker Challenge in Sydney.  That was a gruelling 100km hike through national parks to Sydney Harbour, non-stop through the day and night – it’s basically 2.5 marathons back-to-back, in hiking boots and with some brutal climbs.  You’d think that would put me in good stead for this, but I’m really more of a walker than a runner…  My main concern is completing the race within a respectable time!

What sort of training do you do?

I’ve downloaded one of the Royal Parks’ helpful training guides; now the trick is to follow it.  I’m aiming for a “Sub 2:15” time – which, it is slightly demoralising to read, is the time target for “Beginners”.   At the moment my training involves three runs a week; an easy pair of 3 mile runs during the week and a 5 mile run on the weekend.  So far, so good.  But over the coming weeks, I need to build up to a fast-paced 3 mile run each Tuesday, a medium-paced 4.5 mile run each Thursday, and a Sunday long run of 12 miles…  Let’s see how I go!

Why the Royal Parks Run?

Fresh air, greenery, a carnival atmosphere and a worthy cause:  what more could one ask for?   I was also drawn to the lack of hills.  Lack of hills is good.

If you’d like to sponsor Rebecca, you can do so here.

Good luck Rebecca! We look forward to following your progress.

Meet the rest of the ILBF team here.