From Chichester to Lebanon: This year's Chichester Half Marathon raises over £20,000 towards education for refugee children
With the backing of local sponsors, volunteers and residents, this year’s race was not only thoroughly enjoyed by hundreds of runners, but raised a fantastic sum of money for the our work, including our current response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Just by paying an entry fee, runners have contributed to this work, but many went the extra mile, not just on the Trundle, but in getting sponsored so they could raise as much money as they could for our projects. South Today’s Sally Taylor opened the race with a stirring speech to those on the start line, praising the work of Children on the Edge and encouraging runners that when they hit the wall, they can keep going by remembering what they are running for.
We are currently supporting a project in Lebanon which is providing education for Syrian refugee children who have fled the violence in their country. The project also ensures regular medical clinics, warm blankets and focusses on training Syrian teachers so the project can be owned by the refugee community.
Many of the runners’ athletic triumphs (including the James Baker ‘hat trick’!) were detailed in last Thursday’s Observer. Whether trying a half marathon for the first time, or going for a personal best, runners were enthusiastic about the challenge, even the infamous Trundle.
James Chinnock, a former student at Chichester said “Brilliant, brilliant event and very well organised from beginning to end. My first half marathon and thoroughly enjoyed every moment, even the Trundle – or Grumble in some cases! Will be back next year for sure – have been inspired by the gentleman with the army Bergen (amazing effort sir!), I will do that for Children on the Edge next year! Highly recommended as a first half marathon as the course is interesting and varied and really good atmosphere”.
Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing, and Community Services at Chichester District Council, says: “We are very pleased a wide spectrum of the community have taken part, not just elite runners but people taking part in their first half marathon too. Events like the half marathon are most important to our Sport and Wellbeing Teams at the District Council because it is a major strand of our strategy to work with organisations across the community to help as many people of all ages to be healthy and active.”
Also representing the community for 2014 were nine local ‘Works Trophy’ teams who pit themselves against other to achieve the fastest group times. The winning team was ‘Wiggle’, with Thesis coming second and race sponsor Montezuma’s taking third place. Other contenders were Covers (who also sponsored the goody bags and raised over £600 as a team), Store Property (also main sponsors), Chichester District Council (co-organisers of the race), The Park Tavern, The Body Shop (who also donated some products for the goody bags) and EDF.
Said Henry Green, Covers Managing Director, “Well, what a tough and gruelling run but definitely worth the few aches and pains for the money and support we have given Children on the Edge, who focus on forgotten and fragmented communities not reached by larger aid agencies – something many people don’t think about. The team and I are incredibly proud to have taken on the challenge and help to raise much-needed funds for this fantastic charity.”
As well as the runners, the main sponsors (Montezuma’s and Store Property) and Children on the Edge, the event was made possible by the a huge amount of man hours from Chichester District Council and an dedicated group of local volunteers including Chichester Rotary Club, gathering together behind the scenes.
Children on the Edge and Chichester District Council would like to say a huge thank you to all the runners, sponsors and volunteers mentioned above and also to any motorists or households who may have been inconvenienced by road closures. They would also like to thank the wider community who turned out to cheer on the runners, especially those who put banners outside their homes. It’s been a fantastic encouragement to everyone.
Next year’s date is already set for Sunday October 11th 2015 and the team are looking to expand the event further. Whether you are an individual or a local company, if you are interested in volunteering, sponsoring or supporting the event then we would love to hear from you. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01243 538530.
For any of our runners that have got the fundraising bug, we have places to run for us in the Brighton Marathon. Just e-mail Sarah to find out more.
Thanks to Liz Thornwill for the lovely photo of our medal and goody bag volunteers