Hospice staff 'overwhelmed' by community support for Hertfordshire AONB Marathon

PUBLISHED: 15:18 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:27 04 June 2019

Participants had the choice of a marathon, half marathon or 10k run in aid of the hospice. Picture: Martin Wootton

Participants had the choice of a marathon, half marathon or 10k run in aid of the hospice. Picture: Martin Wootton

Martin Wootton

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.

Children enjoyed the fun run at the AONB Race on Sunday. Picture: Jeremy LintottChildren enjoyed the fun run at the AONB Race on Sunday. Picture: Jeremy Lintott

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.

The Garden House Hospice Care Bear also made an appearance at the inaugural event. Picture: Jeremy LintottThe Garden House Hospice Care Bear also made an appearance at the inaugural event. Picture: Jeremy Lintott

"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.

First, second and third place runners. Picture: Jeremy LintottFirst, second and third place runners. Picture: Jeremy Lintott

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Dean from Offley Memorials said: "Gary was the pillar of our community as a local shopkeeper for 18 years.

The event started and finished at Offley Place Country Hotel. Picture: Martin WoottonThe event started and finished at Offley Place Country Hotel. Picture: Martin Wootton

"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.

There was also a fun run for children at the event on Sunday. Picture: Martin WoottonThere was also a fun run for children at the event on Sunday. Picture: Martin Wootton

"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.

More than 400 people took part in the event in aid of Garden House Hospice Care. Picture: Martin WoottonMore than 400 people took part in the event in aid of Garden House Hospice Care. Picture: Martin Wootton

"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.

Runners tackled the scenic route around Pegsdon and Barton Hills. Picture: Martin WoottonRunners tackled the scenic route around Pegsdon and Barton Hills. Picture: Martin Wootton

To find out how to get involved in future hospice events, such as the Sunset Starlight Walk, go to ghhospicecare.org.uk.

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