Wickford woman set to run solo half marathon for Havens Hospices charity

A woman from Wickford will be running her own half marathon across the town to raise money for her local hospice charity – and hopes locals will cheer her on.

Claire Chilvers, 45, was originally going to be running the Southend Half Marathon on Sunday June 14, but after the charity cancelled the event due to the coronavirus pandemic, she decided she would still take part on that day and raise money for the charity at the same time.

The Southend Half Marathon is just one of Havens Hospices’ major public fundraising events which has had to either be postponed or cancelled due to the current pandemic which has resulted in the charity’s income starting to decline.

This was to be Claire’s first race of that distance. She was initially excited to take on the new challenge so when she found out it had been cancelled, although disappointed, she wanted to carry on training and to do something to help.

She said, “I have only been running for two and a half years and I knew the Southend Half Marathon was going to be a big challenge for me. Although I was disappointed I couldn’t complete my goal, this faded into insignificance when I realised the implications on Havens Hospices’ income with the event not going ahead I really wanted to do something to help.”

She added, “I still wanted to keep up my running and train towards my goal of running a half marathon and as I was out exercising one Sunday I started to think how I could plan a route that was 13 miles long in Wickford, which I could run once lockdown restrictions eased. I realised then that this was a great opportunity to not only complete my goal of running a half marathon but also raise vital funds for the charity too.

“In the absence of the large crowds you usually see at these types of event, I hope that the Wickford community will give me a big cheer and a wave from a distance if they see me running on the day.”

Jane Hopkins, voluntary income area team leader at Havens Hospices said, “We cannot thank Claire enough for her kindness and generosity in choosing to support Havens Hospices during these difficult times.

“The Southend Half Marathon event alone brings in approximately £100,000 each year for the charity so we are relying on our supporters to help us make up some of this income so we can continue to provide our specialist hospice care to those who need us in very difficult times of their lives.”

Claire plans to start her run on Sunday from her house at 9am, and is hoping finish by around 11.30am. Her son Freddie, 13, will be joining her on his bike to help keep her hydrated with water.

The money Claire raises will help Havens Hospices continue to provide palliative nursing and supportive care to adults, children and their families living with complex or incurable conditions across Essex.

The essential care the charity provides is free of charge and with all public fundraising events postponed or cancelled, the charity is relying on gifts – whatever the amount – to keep caring. To sponsor Claire’s fundraising efforts please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Claire-Chilvers

To take on a virtual challenge to raise money for local hospice care, consider the Havens Hospices’ virtual ‘30 in 30’ challenge.

For more information on how to get involved, visit 30in30.havenshospices.org.uk

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]