runners flock to southend for charity half marathon

13 June 2016

1978 runners took part in the 13.1 mile route on Sunday 12th June along Southend’s coastline, starting at Shoeburyness East Beach, 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.

First to cross the finish line was Jack Parslow from Dacorum and Tring RC, followed by Paul Whittaker from Southend AC and Rob Laing from Kent AC. The first three women to finish were Rachel Doherty from Highham Harriers, Emma Patel from Winchester RC and Heather Wilson from Durham RC.

Also taking part on the day were the Dan Knight Warriors, a group of 11 who were running for Dan Knight who attends Fair Havens Day Care.

Dan’s wife Sarah, who ran on the day said, “I’m so proud of all the team. There’s a real community spirit from us all coming together and running for Havens Hospices, along with these hundreds of other runners.

“I feel so appreciative of Havens Hospices and all the care they give to Dan and I so running the Southend Half Marathon is the least I can do to payback their kindness.”

Alan Laird from Shoebury was taking part in his first race to support Fair Havens Hospice which cared for his step father Tony Rice. The 28 year old, who served in the Royal Signals and wore a 25kg backpack, said, “He was cared for at the hospice in February and the Care Team arranged for him to marry my Mum in his bedroom so I just wanted to do something to pay them back.”

There was also the event’s very first proposal, with Paul Davison, 43, getting down on one knee to ask Sarah Fletcher, 42, to be his wife just before the finish line. Sarah, who accepted, said, “I had no idea, I thought we were waiting till we got married so it’s been a complete surprise.

Paul, from Stanway in Colchester said, “I’d only been organizing this since Friday. I contacted Havens Hospices to ask whether we could put a banner at the finish line. Our friends looked after the ring so I didn’t have to carry it around on the route!”

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, despite the weather.

“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.”

Judy added, “This event wouldn't have been possible without the support of so many local people and organisations. We'd also like to thank all the volunteers who helped marshal the route and water stations, our sponsors Olympus Keymed, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, EDMS Medical, 13 12 Southend-on-Sea Air Squadron who volunteered handing out medals and water, Vita Coco for supplying coconut water for all our runners and PK Refrigiration for supplying us with a fridge to keep it cold, Polar Freeze for supplying muscle relief gel, Anytime Fitness Southend for the runner’s goodie bags and Tesco Southend and Essex Cottage Supplies for donating bananas for each runner. Together, we’re ‘Making every day count’.”

Havens Hospices have now opened registration to the Run to Remember Southend Marathon which will take place on Sunday 12th March 2017. To sign up or for more information go to or call 01702 220324. 

To see pictures from the Southend Half Marathon please visit our Fundraising Facebook page. 

Contact us today on 01702 220350 or email us