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For 140k you'd expect him to know his stuff right. Just because he works for a charity doesn't mean he's sorting through your unwanted clothes in the back of a charity shop for £140k a year, or sticking price tags on VHS tapes and ornaments.
I think £140k for a leading scientist to run one of the leading charities in fighting cancer is a pretty good deal.
My view on the OPs question is that the public opinion of running in the UK is largely based on what they see on telly every April; "running" to many non-runners means the London Marathon, one of the most high profile athletic events on our screens each year. Rightly or wrongly this event is famous for it's charity runners, i'm sure in some part because the eccentric British public like to dress up in drag or fancy dress, and raising money for a good cause is an excuse to do that and possibly get on the telly. So people associate runners and running with this event and with charity fundraising. Not sure if this is the case in other countries, and I'm sure it wasn't true prior to the early 80's introduction of the London Marathon, when joggers in the park on Sunday were probably just thought of as "fitness fanatics".