Hospice staff ‘overwhelmed’ by community support for Hertfordshire AONB Marathon

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

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

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 Lintott

Children enjoyed the fun run at the AONB Race on Sunday. Picture: Jeremy Lintott - Credit: Archant

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 L

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


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"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 Lintott

First, second and third place runners. Picture: Jeremy Lintott - Credit: Archant

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

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"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."

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

The event started and finished at Offley Place Country Hotel. Picture: Martin Wootton - Credit: Archant

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.

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

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

"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."

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

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

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.

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

Runners tackled the scenic route around Pegsdon and Barton Hills. Picture: Martin Wootton - Credit: Archant

Bim Afolami officially opened the Area of Natural Beauty marathon event on Sunday. Picture: Martin W

Bim Afolami officially opened the Area of Natural Beauty marathon event on Sunday. Picture: Martin Wootton - Credit: Archant

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

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

Sunday's event was Patch the dog's 90th marathon. Picture: Jeremy Lintott

Sunday's event was Patch the dog's 90th marathon. Picture: Jeremy Lintott - Credit: Archant

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

Children enjoyed the fun run at the AONB Race on Sunday. Picture: Jeremy Lintott - Credit: Archant

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

Runners tackled the scenic route around Pegsdon and Barton Hills. Picture: Martin Wootton - Credit: Archant

The hospice thanked all participants, volunteers and marshals that helped out at the event. Picture:

The hospice thanked all participants, volunteers and marshals that helped out at the event. Picture: Alan Close - Credit: Archant

Garden House Hospice Care hosted the first ever Area of Natural Beauty Marathon on Sunday. Picture:

Garden House Hospice Care hosted the first ever Area of Natural Beauty Marathon on Sunday. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care - Credit: Archant

Participants encouraged each other up the difficult hills. Picture: Alan Close

Participants encouraged each other up the difficult hills. Picture: Alan Close - Credit: Archant

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

Runners tackled the scenic route around Pegsdon and Barton Hills. Picture: Martin Wootton - Credit: Archant

Garden House Hospice Care Volunteers Ann and Lyndsay helping out at the event. Picture: Garden House

Garden House Hospice Care Volunteers Ann and Lyndsay helping out at the event. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care - Credit: Archant

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