Well Grounded Chair, Lindsey MacDonald, is walking for 26.2 hours on a treadmill this weekend. Find out why..

Lindsey MacDonald loves a challenge. 

She has a degree in physics and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year. She co-founded a charity, the Homeless Football Association, whilst studying for her PhD in Sociology. Shortly after receiving her PhD, Lindsey began studying for her MBA (whilst working full time). She is currently a Managing Director at Street League, one of the UK’s leading employability charities that helps change the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through the power of sport. Lindsey also serves as Well Grounded’s Chair, guiding the strategic direction of the organisation along with our board of directors. 

On Saturday, April 25 Lindsey will add another challenge to her list: walking and jogging on a treadmill for 27 hours as part of the London Marathon’s “26.2 Challenge”. Her goal is to raise £2,600 in donations to split equally between Street League and Well Grounded. 

If you’ve ever met Lindsey, you’d recognise very quickly that she was meant to work in the charity world. Her first job right out of university was in the private sector and she soon realised that money and promotions were not enough to motivate her to work hard. Helping people, however, did the trick. “I have a real belief in the third sector and in the concept that the private sector and public sector can’t look after everyone,” said Lindsey. “There’s a role to play, for the voluntary sector in particular, to help those who fall through all the well-intentioned nets and economic structures that we’ve got in place.”

She joined the board of Well Grounded in 2017 and has been instrumental in assisting with the collection and evaluation of our social impact data and offering guidance as the team and business grew. Having been around Well Grounded for nearly 3 years Lindsey has seen the organisation grow and develop but remain true to its roots.

“What’s wonderful about Well Grounded is that it hasn’t changed. And that’s it’s real secret to success. It’s got its core, its absolute purpose, and it is unapologetic and focused on achieving that,” said Lindsey. “There’s a constant ‘uncomfortable comfort’ to self-assessing and rethinking what was a factor or assumption. And I think that’s what makes Eve, and the team as a whole, so brilliant. It is very low ego and purpose driven which means it’s such a wonderful organisation that gets stuff done.” 

The constant push to self-assess and rethink was very helpful in dealing with the arrival of COVID-19. The entire world has been shaken up due to the global coronavirus pandemic, our organisation included. The disruption has pushed our team to re-evaluate how we can help our Graduates – and many need our help now more than ever. It has pushed us to look at our operating model and make improvements. 

“The people who are the lowest earners, in the most disadvantaged communities, and historically the most disadvantaged cohorts or groups…are taking the brunt of it [COVID-19]. It’s had a much greater impact on them but it’s created an opportunity [for the third sector],” said Lindsey. “It’s not that society is breaking but there has been a lot of breaking of societal structures and norms and the third sector will be a driver in putting a more equal and socially just structure in place as we come out of this.. We actually need to have a change in our worldview and we have that opportunity. I think that the third sector would and could drive that in partnership with really socially minded and socially motivated companies and businesses.”

The opportunity to take the terrible hand society has been dealt and create a more just world from it is a refreshing point of view. It’s inspiring, it’s motivating, it’s very Lindsey MacDonald. I tell her what a noble idea that is. “It might be overly ambitious but I have to believe” she laughs.

Lindsey has set up calls with family and friends in different time zones across the world to help keep her entertained during her time on the treadmill. She’s downloaded some podcasts, is working on finding a good film to watch, and might do a bit of preparation for an upcoming board meeting. Her treadmill, purchased soon after she announced her plans, has been positioned within strategic distance of the fridge, toilet, and coffee machine. She plans on tweeting updates every so often and filming the last hour or so on Facebook Live to prove she really made it through the whole 27 hours. 

Lindsey’s ambition and faith will surely get her across the finish line on Sunday. We have little doubt that those qualities may also get us to the finish line of this pandemic. Guided by Lindsey we will fight tooth and nail to drive for a more equal and fairer society together. 

If you’d like to donate to Lindsey’s cause, click here. To get updates on her 27 hour journey, follow @Sports_Lindsey on Twitter.