Nearly 2500 runners completed the Havens Hospices annual Southend Half Marathon this weekend.
Runners took on the 13.1 mile route on Sunday 9th July along Southend’s coastline, starting at Shoeburyness East Beach. There was also a 5K family fun-run in a bid to raise £100,000 for the charity which cares for seriously ill children and adults at its two hospices Little Havens and Fair Havens.
The first wheelchair athlete across the line was Adam Goldspink-Burgess, Harlow AC followed closely by Eddie Clampin, Southend Flyers. The first male runner to finish was James Connor, Kent AC, followed by Mark Newton, Springfield Striders and Simon Powell, Woodford Green AC. The first three women to finish were Beth Bohaine, Katherine O'Hara, Arena 80 and Emily Gelder, Dulwich Runners.
Also taking part on the day was Nicola Laver who was running with brother Tom Fenn in memory of her father Kevin Fenn, who was cared for at Fair Havens Hospice in 2016.
Nicola who ran on the day said,
"Havens Hospices do not charge a penny for any of their care and support and can only do this because of donations and fundraising by the local community. There’s a real community spirit at this run and I am so glad that we decided to join in and raise vital funds for Havens Hospices along with hundreds of other runners.
“My Dad was cared for at Havens; nothing was too much trouble - even when 13 members of the Fenn family descended on the hospice for an impromptu sleepover during his last two nights. We knew his nurses by their first names; they held us when we cried, they listened and they supported not just Dad but us as well.
"When you're experiencing one of the worst moments of your life, you need compassion and empathy and understanding the Havens Hospices staff have it in bucket-loads. And even though Dad has left us the hospice continues to help, with bereveament counselling and support for all of us for as long as we need it my daughter who struggles without her grandad is currently going to bereavement sessions at Little Havens Hospice where she can talk if she needs to."
Judy Grocott, Events Manager at Havens Hospices, said,
“The day couldn’t have gone any better and it was great to see so many local people not only taking part but lining the route to cheer runners on.
“Every runner who has trained for this event and crossed that start line has helped our hospices to continue caring for local adults, children and families when they need it most, and with their help we are well on our way to our £100,000 fundraising target.”
“This event wouldn't have been possible without the support of so many local people and organisations. We'd like to thank all the volunteers who helped marshal the route and water stations, Chris Phillips from the Echo for being our MC and Southend United Manager Phil Brown for starting the race. Also a big thank you to our sponsors Olympus Keymed, Sunndried, Southend Borough Council; EDMS Medical , Southend and Shoebury Detachment who volunteered handing out medals and water, Sundried for the runner’s goodie bags, Asda Southend for donating bananas for each runner and Runners Edge for donating vouchers to the winners. And finally all the runners, their families and friends who cheer them on; together, we’re ‘Making every day count’.”