500 runners joined together to take part in the 23rd annual Race4Business event to raise much needed funds for Essex based charity Havens Hospices.
Havens Hospices welcomed participants from 58 local businesses to the 3.5 mile ‘Race4Business’ event in Chelmsford on Wednesday 29th June, starting and finishing in Central Park.
Race4Business has become a significant annual fixture in the business community calendar and raises money for the hospice charity which provides palliative and supportive care to all age groups living with complex or incurable conditions at its two hospices Little Havens and Fair Havens. Havens Hospices took over the organisation of the event from law firm Birketts in 2019.
Havens Hospices Patron and Radio Essex Presenter Su Harrison welcomed runners at the start of the race along with local gym Anytime Fitness which provided the warm-up routine for the runners. Two members of the Little Havens Care Team joined them on stage to help get participants ready before setting them off on their route.
After finishing the run, food, drink stalls and music was on offer to celebrate the occasion along with a special and moving speech from Lucy Johnson from Chelmsford. In 2010, Lucy’s son Harry was diagnosed with Leigh’s Syndrome, a type of Mitochondrial Disease. The family have been visiting Little Havens for respite breaks since 2014. 10 years ago, Lucy ran the very same event along with Harry and her family and friends when her mother worked for Birketts. Lucy thanked runners, explaining the importance of the care the hospices provide.
She said: “Being told your child has a life-limiting condition for which there is no cure is a place a never thought I would be. Harry is unable to walk, has epilepsy and is non-verbal and yet without uttering a single word he has given me and those who know him so much. His smile can literally light up a room, he has a wicked sense of humour and his resilience and zest for life is infectious.
“After Harry was diagnosed, he was referred to Little Havens and at the time I couldn’t get my head around how visiting a children’s hospice was going to be a positive experience – how wrong I was. It’s a place that’s always filled with so much love, laughter and fun despite the fact that every family there has to face the fact that there is no cure for their child’s illness.
“The specialist care at Havens Hospices is free but they need £85,000 a week to be there for everyone who needs them. I just want to use this opportunity to emphasise how important Little Havens is to families like mine. They give light and laughter to so many families in what at times is dark and lonely place. Your support and all the money you have raised this evening will allow Havens Hospices to continue to help my family and so many others. Thank you to each and every one of you from myself, Harry and all of the other families, we really appreciate it more than you will ever know.”
Following this, awards were handed to the fastest teams with Steve Bugden Car Leasing taking the top prize, Teledyne e2v in second, and Sandersons grabbed third. The prize for the Largest Team went to Fiserv.
The fastest male to cross the finish line was Chris Burgoyne from Steve Bugden Car Leasing in 17 minutes and 40 seconds and the fastest female was Jackie Stretton from Teledyne e2v who ran the course in 19 minutes 21 seconds.
Jackie said: “Race4Business is always a really enjoyable event in aid of such a great cause. It was lovely to see so many friends out there and I’m so pleased Teledyne e2v came away with the prize for second fastest team. It’s something the company looks forward to every year.”
Lydia Plews, Business Development Manager at Havens Hospices said: “Thank you to every single business for joining us on a beautiful summer’s evening to help raise vital funds towards our hospice care – your enthusiasm was so infectious, and the atmosphere was brilliant. It is thanks to businesses like yours that we can continue ‘Making every day count’ for every child, young person, adult and family we care for.
“We would also like to pass on our heartful thanks and appreciation to all the volunteer marshals, our Patron Su Harrison for her usual entertaining commentary for our runners and Lucy for speaking about her personal experience of the charity. And not forgetting our Race4Business 2022 sponsors Utilize Plc, Birketts, Willmott Dixon, MHA Macintyre Hudson, Tangent International, Gallagher, Fiserv and MS Amlin, and the kind donations of bottled water from Anytime Fitness and snack bars from Eat Natural. It is thanks to your support the charity can put on these events and raise much-needed funds towards our care for hundreds of local families.”
Race4Business will be back next year with the date to be announced in due course. Follow Havens Hospices on social media @HavensEvents for all the latest announcements. If your business and would like to support the work of Havens Hospices please contact Lydia Plews by emailing LPlews@havenshospices.org.uk
Published 1st July 2022
Photo credit: Jon Webber