The hospice half — 20,000 quid!

haltonhavenFor the first time in our 32 year history we had to cancel our January Half Marathon because of treacherous snow and ice conditions. Many of our suppliers were incredibly generous in waiving their fees with just 24 hours notice of the cancellation, for which we thank them. Just as significant though were the individual small acts of kindness of our runners who chose to donate their refunds to charity.

Particular mention to our headline sponsor Essar, for their continued support for the race that never was — great to rely on them in these changing times.

With some swift programming from fabian4 we were able to offer automated refunds for participants (after costs for things like traffic closures, race numbers, chips, etc) …but we also gave our runners the option to donate their entry fees, which they did overwhelmingly by two to one!

What all this adds up to is that we were able to make our usual contributions to the community groups that normally help us out on the day and make two very significant donations to our bigger causes — the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford, Chester and Halton Haven, Runcorn — both providing incredible support to people with some serious health problems. Many of us in the club have been touched by the services they offer whether directly to loved ones or further afield to friends, neighbours, etc.

The two major donations of just over £10,100 each should make things easier for the two hospice organisations for a short time at least. Both hospices rely on donations to keep the doors open and it is a continuing challenge just to keep running, so were very pleased to be able to do our little bit. Rather than just post a cheque we decided to get a run in anyway and deliver the two cheques by hand…

hospiceSo it was that we met in Backford early on Sunday morning, 2 June. The cheque handed over and a lovely reception from the staff there and we set off into the sunshine, stopping off at the club some 8 miles later to pick up a couple more recruits and refresh with juice and jelly babies. We continued on familiar ground through Frodsham and out the other side towards Runcorn, with just a final miserable hill at 13 miles between ourselves and our final destination at Halton Haven …they all seem big after 2 hours running! Thanks to the 20 or so club stalwarts for turning out on Sunday morning for the Hospice Half, and for our drivers, photographers and juice providers. 14.6 miles all in, so a Long Half really!

Many thanks again to our suppliers, our race entrants and our supporters for making it possible and for the two hospices for looking after us so well. If you’re looking to do a bit of fundraising yourself we can’t think of a finer cause.

Lots more pictures from the day at

The ‘hospice half’!

You may remember we had to cancel our annual Essar Four Villages half marathon in January because of the unprecedented bad weather.

The good news: we’ve been able to make substantial donations to our two main charities (Halton Haven and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd) because of the incredible generosity of our entrants, who voted overwhelmingly by 2:1 not to opt for a refund of their entry fees.

We’re on the front page of the Chester Chronicle today (23 May) about our low-key plan to salvage a bit of fun from the ashes and run between the two hospices to deliver the donations …as it happens just a little over half marathon distance. Hence the ‘Hospice Half’.

The bad news: the headline in the paper suggests it’s a re-run of the event and that hordes of runners will be invading the streets. It’s not I’m afraid — it’s just a few friends dropping off a donation and having a run into the bargain. Sorry if the paper gives the impression that this is an open event, but we need to avoid overwhelming the hospices with visitors and clogging the streets.

It’s a Helsby running club affair only …of course if you were thinking of joining the club anyway and are up for 14 mile on Sunday morning, we can probably squeeze you in and would be glad to have you along!