Stevenage race in memory of ‘inspirational’ club runner

A CHARITY race is being held in memory of a “role model” runner who died after a long battle with cancer.

The Paul Maguire Memorial 5 Mile Race returns after a two-year hiatus and will be held in Stevenage on Sunday, September 23.

The event was first organised by Fairlands Valley Spartans in 2009 to pay tribute to Mr Maguire, who won the Stevenage running club’s Spartan of the Year award prior to his death in 2008 at the age of 42.

The Stevenage resident joined the Spartans having already been diagnosed with throat cancer, and continued to run for many years before the disease spread to his brain.

Up to 300 runners can tackle the five mile route which starts at Moss Bury Primary School in Webb Rise, Stevenage, with all proceeds going to the Garden House Hospice in Letchworth GC, which provides care for those with a terminal diagnosis.

All finishers of the race, which also incorporates the Herts County Championships, will receive a medal presented by Mr Maguire’s widow Sharon and daughter Emily.

Chris Leigh, head coach at Fairlands Valley Spartans, has helped to organise the run.

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He said: “Paul was a huge inspiration to me and so many members within the club. I remember when Paul joined the club - he made an immediate impression on me. He was already suffering from the effects of his battle with cancer but I never once heard him complain. He worked so hard at each of our training sessions - he was a role model for the others in how to apply themselves to their own running.

“My lasting memories of Paul will be of the individual who was at each of the club training sessions and races with a broad grin on his face and a wicked sense of humour, always ready to do his best. I am proud to see the club organise the race again and to see the funds raised go to such a worthy cause.”

Colin Roberts, head of fundraising at Garden House Hospice, said the hospice is delighted the running club has decided to donate the proceeds to the only adult hospice for Stevenage and North Herts.

He added: “We rely enormously on the generosity of the people of North Herts and what better way to support the hospice than taking part in this special race in memory of Paul Maguire.”

Entry to the race, which starts at 10.30am, costs �10 or �8 for club runners - visit to sign up.

The closing date for postal entry is Friday, September 14, although runners can enter on the day if there are spaces left.