The wind and rain didn’t stop the 1,173 Herts 10K runners and walkers on Sunday 13 October. Starting and finishing in the grounds of Rothamsted Reasearch in Harpenden – participants were determined to take on the popular multi-terrain route in aid of Rennie Grove Hospice Care.
Both Neil Marshment photography
Rennie Grove’s flagship fundraiser draws in runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. The money raised through entry sign ups and sponsorship goes towards the vital services the charity provides for local adults and children living with a life-limiting illness and their families across Bucks and west Herts.
Tracey Hancock, Director of Fundraising at Rennie Grove said: “I’d like to thank everyone who was involved with making this year’s event such a success. Thank you to our founding sponsor Levy Associates, headline sponsors Plowman Craven, P B Donoghue and Rothamsted Research for hosting the event. Thank you to Magenta Storage and St Hilda’s School. Also a big thank you to all the volunteers and marshals who helped on the day. The money raised from the our major events such as the Herts 10K ensures we are able to continue providing care and support to local adults and children diagnosed with cancer and other life-limiting illness and their families.”
Hear from some of the participants on the day:
Andrew Hughesman and his partner Emma Barry initially signed up in January as part of a new year’s resolution. However their reason for running changed after Andrew’s grandad, John Stevens, passed away in February 2019.”
“My grandad was cared for in his home in Harpenden by Rennie Grove’s hospice at home team. He struggled with cancer for over 11 years and without the help and support of the people at Rennie Grove, he would have found everyday tasks insurmountable.” If you’d like to sponsor Andrew click here.
Friends Jan Armstrong, Kay Ison and Angela Hollands from Pitstone signed up and ran together. Angela, who is part of Rennie Grove’s Retail and Trading team, was inspired after doing the Running Every Day January scheme. “I wanted to carry on running throughout the year so thought it would be a good idea to sign up to The Herts 10K.”
Kay said: “I’ve come to support Angela and a great cause. I’m training for a 10 mile event next weekend and The Herts 10K was part of the training plan!”
Taking part once again was a 15-strong team from the Wheathampstead Warriors running club. Karl Wilding and Tom Grant said; “We like to encourage runners of all ages and abilities. For us it’s more about the running community than about running personal bests. The Herts 10K is always a good experience even though it is a challenging course. We hope that Rennie Grove does well out of the day. As a local community club we’re really pleased to support this vital local service – it’s all part of what makes this a great place to live.”
Steve Baldwin lost over 3.5 stone in the lead up to the Herts 10K. “It’s my first official 10K! I’m running today because I’ve managed to lose the weight and also to support Rennie Grove. I’m the pub manager at Water End Barn in St Albans which hosts the Rudolph Run each year so I’ll see you on Sunday 1 December!”
It was a change of scene for Rennie Grove’s Chief Executive, Stewart Marks: “It’s a great opportunity to be out in the community engaging with everybody who supports Rennie Grove. I’m very grateful for all the participants’ time and energy and for their commitment to the charity.”
The Crabtree dads from Hemel Hempstead, an informal running club, were represented by five runners who said at the finish line: “It was muddy but brilliant. It was well organised with a good atmosphere and was great fun.”
Deborah Harris who volunteers at Rennie Grove’s Victoria Street charity shop took part in the Herts 10K for the first time with her husband Laurence, said: “It was muddy but the rain held off most of the way. The course was really well marshalled and it was great to be cheered on along the way.”
It was Councillor Chris Davies from St Albans District Council second year running the Herts 10K. He said: “Lawrence Levy, who started the Herts 10K, is a good friend of mine and I know Rennie Grove is a charity close to his heart. It’s such a great event and it’s amazing to see so many people supporting it.”
Chris ran alongside friend and ‘Instagram running dad’ Dave Oh (@daveoh09_runningdad) from St Albans. Dave said: “I’m trying to enter more local running events so thought I should sign up to this one! It’s great to be here with friends and supporting a fantastic cause.”
Signing up to take part for the first time was Jo Milligan and her son Ross and daughters Justine and Cara and their respective partners. Rennie Grove cared for Jo’s mum Marion Lawrence earlier this year after she was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Sadly, Marion passed away in July and the family have been active fundraisers since, raising money to support the charity from funeral donations, a Bingo night and about £1,300 in sponsorship from the Herts 10K. Jo said, “You don’t know how much you will need a service like Rennie Grove’s until the time comes. The nurses were incredible and took all the weight off by being there when we needed them, day or night.”
St Albans residents Tash Underwood and Jason Oliveira were keen get to the start line. For Tash it was her second go taking on the Herts 10K but it was all new for Jason. He said: “I’ve not done this before but Tash encouraged me to sign up. I tried to get a space in the London Marathon 2020 however didn’t get a spot but I’m happy to be running here today.”
A large group from Run Redbourn! assembled to take on the 10K challenge. Rachel Mackie started the running group in 2016. “We have connections with Rennie Grove and wanted to take part not just to get fit but to motivate each other and to raise funds for the charity.”
Oliver Jeffery and Daisy Ambler from Kings Langley finished the route in less than one hour. Oliver said “It was very muddy so it was tough to keep going but it was good fun.”
A team of four ran representing St Hilda’s School in Harpenden. The school also support the event by sponsoring the finish line. Parent, Louise McCarty described the event as, “A great motivational get together for a brilliant cause.”
Sarah Davies has been a volunteer at Rennie Grove for six years, visiting patients and their families at home to help with practical tasks and companionship as part of the Supporting Hands service. She is also volunteering on the new Bereavement Support telephone line. As a former nurse, Sarah has always wanted to help on the care side but this is the first time she has taken the plunge and signed up to take part in the 10K. Encouraged by her husband, a seasoned Herts 10K runner, she ran with her son Oliver, also taking part for the first time.
Sherrards Solicitors also entered a team of 11 runners to show their ongoing support for Rennie Grove. Mark Fellows said; “We know what great work Rennie Grove does and how much it costs so we are thrilled to make a small contribution to this great cause.”
Neil Marshment photography
Harpenden Arrows Running Club once more supported the event by helping with signing the course, marshalling and checking on the state of the course after all the rain in advance of the start. Before the race Hannah Turner said; “As a club, we don’t organise a race of our own, so we like to help out with this local event and support a great local charity too.” Hannah then went on to record the fastest ladies time in 40 minutes 29 seconds and was followed by Karen Wilkins then Hannah Bennett.
Rowan Daly from Redbourn was first to cross crossed the finish line in 36 minutes 28 seconds said: “I felt really good at the start but it was very muddy and I felt that people were catching towards the end, but I stayed strong and was delighted to win this race for the first time.” Rowan was closely followed by Giles Horridge and Tom Hemmingway.