STUDENTS attending a city centre university have pulled on their running shoes for a good cause.

For the group of international students at the University of Strathclyde will be collectively running 1,000 km this month to raise money for NSPCC Scotland.

The fundraisers, led by Aurelio Kaluthantrige, have been accumulating the distance by running in parks such as the Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove.

The group also include Alexandros Kosta, Niko Mbalire and Tom Barski.

All of the funds raised will go to the children’s charity, which runs the Childline counselling service and has a base in the city’s Govan.

Aurelio, a PhD student of mechanical and aerospace engineering, came from Italy to Glasgow to study at the end of last year.

The 27-year-old said: “When I came to Scotland, I didn’t know anyone. The country was in lockdown, so there were no opportunities to go out and meet people and get to know Glasgow. I joined a few student societies, including the theatre and language café, and began to make some friends.

“I also attended a virtual information meeting held by the NSPCC, and found out more about the charity and what services they provide. I’ve always wanted to volunteer, and thought this was a great opportunity to start. I was touched by the cause, and wanted to do something about it and help in any way I could.

“Growing up in Italy, I had some troubled times with my school and family life when I was young, and I don’t like to think of other children having to go through hard experiences alone. I know that in the UK, a child contacts Childline every 25 seconds, and if the money we are raising can help answer more contacts, then I will feel like I am doing something to help them.”

Aurelio added: “Lots of my new friends here like to walk, run, hike and cycle, so I asked if they would like to take part and raise money. We started off with a target of 300km, but we reached that in just over a week so we keep increasing the target, which now sits at 1,000km. We’re all international students, coming from Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Norway, and more, and the experience has brought us together as a group.”

Jen Lindsay, community fundraising manager for NSPCC Scotland, said: “Aurelio and the rest of the group are taking on a huge challenge to raise vital funds for us. He is clearly very passionate about keeping children safe, and the money raised will go towards helping children around Scotland.

“Over the past year, so many fundraising activities and events have been cancelled or postponed, and without the help of people like Aurelio, we couldn’t continue to be there for children. If you’d like to take on a challenge like this, get in touch with me on”

To sponsor Aurelio and his team, please visit his JustGiving page

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or e-mail Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111.