Hospice staff 'overwhelmed' by community support for Hertfordshire AONB Marathon
PUBLISHED: 15:18 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:27 04 June 2019
More than 400 runners turned out for Garden House Hospice Care's inaugural Hertfordshire Area of Natural Beauty Marathon on Sunday.
The route saw participants take on inclines along the scenic Pegsdon and Barton Hills to help raise money for the Letchworth-based hospice.
Starting and finishing at Offley Place Country Hotel, the event offered three distances - a marathon, half marathon or 10k run, as well as a free fun run for children.
The race was opened by Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami, who said: "This event is a wonderful way to celebrate the work that the hospice does.
"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."
Marathon sponsors Offley Memorials entered a team of four to the 10k race in memory of a former shopkeeper Gary Pilsworth, who was cared for at home by the hospice, and sadly died as a result of a brain tumour.
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Dean from Offley Memorials said: "Gary was the pillar of our community as a local shopkeeper for 18 years.
"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."
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.
"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 Royston Runners' Tom Beach in 3h28m04s, while the first woman was Abi Gooch in 3h40m49s.
To find out how to get involved in future hospice events, such as the Sunset Starlight Walk, go to ghhospicecare.org.uk.