The Havens Hospices Southend Half Marathon – sponsored by Utilize PLC – took place on Sunday 12th June, starting and finishing in Shoeburyness, taking in views of the famous seafront. It was the return of the event since the pandemic, and the first since Southend was awarded city status.
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 race was started by Riley Moore, 5 from Chelmsford, whose brother Mason, 2, is supported by Little Havens. Riley and Mason’s mum, Emma, was also running with family friend Jamie Drummon and had jointly raised more than £1,500 for the charity.
The first male and female past the finishing line were Dave Smale and Stephanie Migliorini. Dave completed in 1:10:07 with Stephanie, from Leigh on Sea Striders in 1:25:49.
Runners had travelled from across the county, country and the globe. One group of friends were originally from South Africa and now living across the UK from Gosport, Manchester, Hampshire and Maidstone. They run together virtually and meet up for events like the Southend Half Marathon. Gina Mahlangu says, “The support from the spectators around the loop was brilliant. By the time we did the second lap, everyone knew we were from South Africa and cheering us on. We will be back next year.”
Not far from the minds of some runners was the cause that they’re all raising money for. Cristina Fragnito run in memory of her nephew Elio, who was cared for by Little Havens in 2018. The 33-year-old from Westcliff says, “Taking part in today’s event was brilliant. Even though it was a hot one, knowing we were supporting Little Havens gave me that extra push to keep going.”
Some runners braved the heat by wearing fancy dresses, including Jo Pearce, part of Pitsea Running Club. The 52-year-old from Laindon Hills wore a brightly coloured clown dress and says, “I wear fancy dress to put a smile on the children’s faces who are watching the race, and those who are supported by the hospice. Runs like the Southend Half Marathon are not just about what time I can finish in, but the principle and cause, too.”
Jane Hopkins is the Community Engagement Manager for Havens Hospices. “To see so many new and familiar faces at the start line of the Southend Half Marathon was wonderful, following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
“The Southend Half Marathon is a popular event for runners looking for a PB. But whilst they’re focusing on their fastest time, they’re also playing their part in securing the future of hospice care for thousands of local people. We rely on fundraising events like this to raise the £100,000 each week needed to keep our care going, both at the hospices of Little Havens and Fair Havens and within family homes.
“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, local army cadets, and our sponsors Utilize Plc for their incredible support on the day.”
Race results are available at FR Systems. The charity’s next running event is Race4Business on 29th June in Chelmsford. Businesses, companies and organisations from across Essex and London can register a team to take part. More details at www.havenshospices.org.uk/race4business
Published 13th June 2022