Runners have travelled across the county and country for the Havens Hospices Southend Half Marathon – sponsored by Utilize PLC – which took place on Sunday 11th June. The race started and finished in Shoeburyness, taking in views of the famous coastline.
Through registration fees and sponsorship, it’s estimated that the runners helped to raise close to £100,000 for Havens Hospices, which provides specialist, free care for local children, adults and their families.
The first male across the finishing line was Shane Boxall, completing the race in 01:11:49. The first Essex male was David Smale in 01:11:49. The first female over the line was Katie King in 01:23:36.
Not far from the minds of some runners was the cause that they are all raising money for. Adrienne Eiser Treeby from Leigh-on-Sea was one of those runners at the start line fundraising for the charity, as Little Havens supported her family after the death of her son Oscar in 2022. Adrienne wanted to take part in the half marathon to mark what would have been Oscar’s first birthday and give something back to the hospice. Her daughter, Oscar’s sister Abigail, six, had the important task of starting the race.
Adrienne has raised over an incredible £2,500 for the children’s hospice and, through events like this, the charity can continue to care for families like theirs through the most difficult times. She said: “I thought a lot about my late son Oscar while I was running. Not about the few weeks he had while he was alive, but about the last few hours before he was born. I was thinking about how similar those hours felt so many months ago, to how it felt to run along the Thorpe Esplanade under the baking Sunday sun. Painful, yes, but exhilarating. It sharpens your appreciation of small blessings. The high-five of a child by the side of the road. The shockingly-cool mist from a volunteer’s hose. The smell of Oscar’s hair. The feel of his hand grabbing mine. I’m not going to claim that the pain of these experiences is what makes the results worth it – but, go run a race, have a baby, lose a baby, and you’ll see that they are.
“Hundreds of people read out and cheered Oscar’s name while I raced yesterday and that, in addition to the amount I helped raise on Little Havens behalf, really made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. Pain is a part of life, but Little Havens, and Havens Hospices, help make it bearable, for me and for my daughter. I’ll always be grateful to them.”
Judy Grocott, Head of Fundraising at Havens Hospices said: “Year after year it never ceases to amaze us the support the event receives. To see so many new and familiar faces at the start line of the Southend Half Marathon was wonderful.
“The Southend Half Marathon is a popular event for runners not just for locals but for people across the country looking for a PB. Whilst they’re focusing on their fastest time, they’re also playing their part in securing the future of hospice care, helping us to make every day count for hundreds of adults, children and young people across the county living with incurable conditions.
“We rely on fundraising events like this to raise the £124,000 each week needed to keep our care services running for those who needs us, whenever they need us. It’s a real community effort to host such a big event like the Southend Half Marathon. Our thanks go to our volunteer marshals and pacers, our sponsors Utilize Plc, the team of sports therapists, Marlborough Traffic Management, EMS Response medical team, and the local residents and businesses for their incredible support on the day. There were multiple homes along the route who were trying to keep our runners extra cool in the heat with hosepipes, water pistols and ice lollies which was especially welcomed and appreciated by our runners, so thank you!”
The charity’s next running event is the Chelmsford Marathon, sponsored by Beaulieu. More details at www.havenshospices.org.uk/chelmsfordmarathon
Published 13th June 2023
Jon Webber @jonsphotos1