Andy Smith, Chief Executive for Havens Hospices, commented:
“We are incredibly disappointed that we have had to postpone the Run to Remember Marathon and we feel awful that our runners will not get to complete the race they’ve been training for. We are in awe of the amazing runners who have dedicated themselves to this event and we really want to thank them for their dedication and support. We understand that some runners and other supporters want to continue fundraising for us which is fantastic. We’ve even had a local supporter plan a ‘virtual Marathon’ in March through their company Medal Run – and supporters can find out more on our website from tomorrow. We rely on the generosity of local people to enable us to continue to care for the hundreds of families who need our help. Each year thousands of local people do amazing things to help us raise this money, from running events, to jumping out of airplanes or holding a coffee morning. All of these activities are vital to fund hospice care for local people.
“The idea to bring a Marathon back to Southend started over 3 years ago. We discussed our early ideas with some local Councillors, local businesses, local running clubs and many others; and there was widespread support for the idea. Our initial Events Licence Application (ELA) for the Southend Marathon was made over a year ago; the event was amended and date changed following an initial consultation with local traders and residents. This was then discussed with the Safety Advisory Group (which includes representatives of the Council, Emergency Services, Businesses and other relevant bodies with an interest in protecting public safety) in February 2016. The Council advised us in November 2016 to update our ELA with the amended date, so we resubmitted the application on 9th November 2016. Throughout we worked closely with the SAG and followed their guidelines.
“We’ve always followed the procedures recommended by the council and we’ve used the same process for over 20 years when organising the Southend Half Marathon; however, there is never a plan that can’t be improved! We understand our communications didn’t reach all the people impacted by the Marathon, and we are committed to improve on this. We feel the level of vilification and blame the Seafront traders are receiving in the press and on social media, is unreasonable and unfair. We wish to see this stop.”