1,500 people braved heavy rain at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden to tackle Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the Herts 10K on Sunday 14 October.
Runners and walkers of all ages came together at the start line, where they were set off by the Mayor of St Albans, Cllr Rosemary Farmer, embarking on the multi-terrain route to raise vital funds for the services that Rennie Grove provides for local adults and children diagnosed with life-limiting illness and their families. The Mayor also presented trophies to the winners of each category at the end.
As if by magic, participants set off and the rain ceased moments later. Some runners and walkers felt the force of Mother Nature once more following roughly 60 minutes of rain-free conditions. Tony and Mel from Wheathampsted managed to cross the finishing line without getting too soaked. “The atmosphere today has been much better than other 10k races we’ve been to recently, so we’ll definitely be back next year” said Mel. “We liked that, although serious runners took part, as a whole the event didn’t feel overly competitive: there was a friendly and community feel to it, with lots of people cheering you on and making you feel welcome, which really made the day for us.”
While winner Warrick Rath blazed across the line in 34 minutes and 6 seconds, volunteers and marshals stayed to the very last moment to ensure that 82 year old Patricia Wilson walked proudly across the finishing line after a truly triumphant walk in the wet weather.
On being presented with his trophy Warrick said; “This is a wonderful race. I used to live in Harpenden and it is always lovely to come back to take part. It’s great to see everyone out supporting the runners too.”
First home for the ladies was Charlene Jacobs-Conradie who finished in 38 minutes and 26 seconds and the junior section was won by Thomas Cooper who was taking part in his first 10K along with his Dad, Ash. Thomas finished in 36 minutes and 3 seconds.
79 year old Pat Kerry from Wheathampstead ran with his daughter, Jo Roberts, and Steve Brand in memory of his wife Wendy. Pat has raised over £1,600 in sponsorship for Rennie Grove after their Hospice at Home team cared for Wendy, enabling her to fulfil her wish of staying at home.
Rose and Tim from Welwyn Garden City had both participated in the Herts 10K as individuals, but were excited for their first time running the event together.
“What I love is that it really is very well organised and each year is guaranteed a great atmosphere and a lovely route” said Tim. One of Rose’s friends had been using the range of day services offered by Rennie Grove Hospice Care at Grove House in St Albans when undergoing cancer treatment. Wanting to support her friend and the services helping her, Rose said; “Running in a bit of rain is nothing compared to undergoing chemo.”
Harpenden neighbours Tony Culpin and Audrey McNair are regular Herts 10K participants. Audrey said “It’s good to support a local event for a good cause. My father passed away in a hospice and I like to do all I can to support the hospice movement. I live close to the Rennie Grove Shop in Southdown so I donate there regularly too.” Tony, who volunteers for the charity too, showed his dedication by running the morning after his 60th birthday party.
Ben Wrighton from St Albans and Andrew Beasley from Harpenden proudly displayed their medals at the finish line. Ben said “The weather was a bit challenging today but it was good fun. I’ve taken part about six times now and I really like the off-road elements of the course. The marshals were great and it was well organised.”
Andrew said; “This was my first Herts 10K and it was great. There was a really good camaraderie between the runners and a good community spirit with people supporting us all the way.”
Brother and sister Lucy Ison and Tim Fraser-Hook ran with Lucy’s friend Caroline Deutsch. Lucy said, “We loved it. It was well organised and we’ll definitely be back next year.”
Adrian Jones was joined by his two daughters Lucy and Anna; “It was a really good run. Very well organised and it really makes a difference when people are cheering you along the way.”
Three sisters and a cousin from Harpenden decided to take part in the Herts 10K to celebrate a special birthday. Nina Tizzani, Sara Randall, Chloe Lee and Emily Shotter have not taken part in the event before but are looking forward to the challenge and the finish line!
Kate and Paul Collis from St Albans had previously tackled the Herts 10K together, but were pleased to face the challenge again with their daughter Isabelle and her friend, who hadn’t ran the 10k distance before. Kate said; “We’ve done this event four times, we like to use it every year as part of our health regime. We especially like going round the park and the scenic spots of the route. We’d heard of the event before we’d heard of Rennie Grove, but since we’ve started taking part we’ve noticed the amazing work they do so it’s great to be supporting them as well as keeping fit today.”
Peter Donoghue, director at gold sponsors PB Donoghue competed in the event for the first time. Peter said; "We're very proud to be supporting Rennie Grove even in very damp conditions. It’s a wonderful cause and fantastic to see so many local people turn out today."
Managing Director at founding sponsors Levy Associates, Matt Murphy, ran with friend Charles. Matt said; “The rain meant that it was unsurprisingly muddy in places which made for an extra challenge but overall we loved it, it’s comforting to see that the wet weather hasn’t stopped people coming out and supporting Rennie Grove so we’re really pleased about that and to be involved with this event once again.”
Headline sponsors, Harpenden-based Plowman Craven, entered a team of runners. Director at the surveying company Peter Folwell explained that there was a lot more to their involvement than sponsorship. He said; “A big group of us at Plowman Craven have been training as part of a health and wellbeing initiative we started recently – we wanted to promote a healthy lifestyle for our team, and our continued support, not only of Rennie Grove but also of the Herts 10K, was a great way to round off that initiative. I’ve run this event three times now, and I love that local people come together and support one another and a wonderful local cause at the same time.”
Lawrence Levy, founder of the Herts 10K, commented that it was: “A great day for the Herts 10K and for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.”
Tracey Hancock, Director of Fundraising at Rennie Grove said; “I’d like to thank everyone who was in involved in making this another successful year at the Herts 10K. We couldn’t do it without the support of the local community and special thanks go to all our sponsors, including our founding sponsor Levy Associates and headline sponsors Plowman Craven, PB Donoghue and Rothamsted Research, as well as our corporate sponsors Magenta Storage and St Hilda's School. Thanks also to our dedicated volunteers and marshals, our fantastic race commentator Lee Partridge and Rothamsted Research for generously providing today’s venue, also to Andy Molloy from Plowman Craven for presenting the trophies. The money raised from events such as the Herts 10K ensures that 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.”