As I type this, I’m still buzzing from the feel-good factor of running our first large event since 2019! Our Hospice Mini Marathon took place on Sunday in Royal Greenwich Park and it was such a fabulous day! We absolutely loved seeing all the children running their hearts out to raise money for their local Hospice.
I have to admit, we were all a bit nervous about running an event in this post-Covid era. Would families even want to sign up? How would we deal with any changes in restrictions? Would we have enough volunteers to help us run the event? Would the event raise enough money to support vital hospice care?
It turns out that after an 18-month break, there was demand from families to do something fun and amazing with their children. On the day, there was a real buzz of excitement as families started to arrive and even more excitement when the first group of runners set off around the 2.62 mile route.
Thankfully, Covid restrictions didn’t change so we followed Government advice and kept an eye on what other event organisers were doing. We had two arrival times, staggered the start and had plenty of hand sanitizer available. On the day, it felt safe and it felt fun..
As for worrying about having enough volunteers?… Oh my goodness, our community really stepped up and gave us the most amazing support! JLL, our event sponsor had teams on two of our water stations and at the start/finish; 30 volunteer Police Cadets from Greenwich and Lewisham marshalled the route; 15 volunteer Army Cadets from Bexley and Bromley helped steward and clear down; and two Navy Officers gave up their day off to man our 2 mile water station. (I like to think that we united the Armed Forces in a moment of rare unity – see below photo!).
Good Gym Greenwich sent 9 fantastic volunteers, some of whom ran to the park at 7am, helped out all morning then ran onto their next project! Members of staff from Nike O2 store helped all day and then went straight to work from the event – that is what I call dedication!
Not to mention, our Hospice volunteers who helped run the T-shirt collection point and event information stall, and the Pearly Queen of Greenwich and the Pearly King and Queen of Woolwich who handed out medals and goody bags.
Finally, a very special mention has to go to Neal Bailey, founder of Bayanix Ltd who drove one of the Hospice vans to the park, helped set up and clear down.
Without all of this wonderful help, there wouldn’t have been an event. And without the amazing support of the 350 children who laced up their trainers and took on the challenge of running 2.62miles, there wouldn’t be a Hospice Mini Marathon. We set ourselves a target of reaching £50,000 and have raised more than £15,000 so far. I’m hopeful that in the coming weeks, families will get behind the children who have taken on the challenge of raising sponsorship for their local Hospice.
And as far as a return to real-life events go, it was such a fantastic day! You can’t beat that feeling of coming together with hundreds of others, and doing something really special to make a difference. All my trepidation for a return to events, has disappeared – I cannot wait for the next one!
We hope to be back in Royal Greenwich Park in 2022. In the meantime, I’m off to finalize plans for our Greenwich Market and Danson House Grotto’s!
Augusta Adu (she/her)