On Sunday 2nd June, the Hospice held the first ever Great Hertfordshire AONB Marathon.
Over 400 participants turned out to take on the hilly challenge for the Hospice, tackling the scenic route around Pegsdon and Barton Hills and surrounding areas to help raise money for the charity.
Starting and finishing at Offley Place Country Hotel, the event offered three distances - a marathon, half marathon and 10km run, as well as a free fun run for children.
The event was opened by Hitchin and Harpenden MP, Bim Afolami who said:
“This event is a wonderful way to celebrate the work that Garden House Hospice Care do.
“It is brilliant to see the community coming together, from the participants, marshals and volunteers to all the supporters, to cheerlead and support the Hospice. We are very lucky to have such beautiful scenery on our doorstep, which alone would inspire anyone to get out and participate.”
Hospice Event organiser Jake Amos said:
“This event was a great success and we were overwhelmed with the interest it attracted and the support we got from the community. With sunshine, smiles and a lot of determination to get up those hills, it was a fantastic event and we hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.
“I want to say a heartfelt congratulations and thank you to everyone who took part, especially the marshals and volunteers who helped, without them – this event wouldn’t happen.
“Huge thanks also go to our event sponsors and supporters; Offley Place, Offley Memorials, Norton Way Group, Stirling & Law, Study Active, Boss Oven Cleaning, Odyssey, Hitchin Camera club and Urban Outdoor Events.
“We would urge all those who took part to continue asking for sponsorship from family, friends and work colleagues so we can reach our final target of £40,000.”
The first man to cross the line was Tom Beach and first lady was Abi Gooch.
Marathon sponsors, Dean of Offley Memorials, entered a team of four to run the 10k in memory of local Offley shopkeeper Gary and commented:
“Gary was the pillar of our community as our local shopkeeper for 18 years, and when we found out that Garden House Hospice Care were organising this event, starting and finishing from the village he called home for all those years, it was a no brainer to run in his memory.”
Dean’s son, Stanley, aged 11, who also ran the 10k commented:
“Gary was such a nice and funny man. I miss seeing him and getting sweets from his shop. It’s my first event and I want to raise as much money to help other people like Gary”
Participants travelled from all over the country to attend Sunday’s event, for many this was the first time they’d taken part in an off-road run….excluding Paddy the dog, who completed his 90th marathon at the event!
One runner said:
“What a superbly organised event. The whole day was wonderful, great support on course from the friendly volunteers and marshals, felt very looked after. The route was challenging in the heat but the views were worth the effort.”
Want to take part in 2020?
Registration for next year’s Great Hertfordshire AONB Marathon, taking place on Sunday 7th June at Offley Place is now open - CLICK HERE TO REGISTER