Nine under starters orders for London MarathonIn aid of Racing Welfare Racing Welfare’s team of nine runners will be taking on the infamous 26.2 mile challenge on Sunday 23rd April 2017.
The team incorporates a combination of people who work hands-on within the industry along with those involved in the organisational side of the sport and others who are supporting the charity as they have seen the positive impact that Racing Welfare has had on their friends and communities.
Particularly notable in his efforts is Ben Blowes, who is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon carrying a household appliance. Guinness World Records have set the time to beat at 6:00 hours carrying a minimum appliance weight of 25kg. Ben said of his decision to run for Racing Welfare “I am not directly involved in Racing, but living in Newmarket I have lots of friends involved in the industry and it’s great to support a charity that can give something back.”
Two of the charity’s runners are racecourse groundsmen. Darrin Lenharth works at Fontwell Park Racecourse and has chosen Racing Welfare so that he can give back to the industry. Darrin’s love of running started with an impressive weight loss challenge: “Two years ago I made the conscious decision to change my lifestyle, I was 16 stones and in fear of my health – I now weigh 9.5 stone! I now have the running bug and the marathon was on my ‘bucket list’, so why not combine something I enjoy with raising money for a great cause!” Sam Butler-Spelzini is Head Groundsman at Huntingdon Racecourse and says of the challenge “working for The Jockey Club and being closely connected to Racing Welfare, I thought this was the ideal opportunity to achieve the goal of running the London Marathon.”
Industry representation comes from Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation and from Hugh Anderson, Managing Director of Godolphin in the UK and Dubai. Both the Racing Foundation and Godolphin are key supporters of Racing Welfare providing grants for projects including Racing’s Support Line, the charity’s multi-channel helpline which was launched in 2016 and has helped facilitate a huge increase in the number of people that Racing Welfare have supported.
Three of the charity’s runners are currently working in racing yards. Kevin Brown is Head Lad to Fergal O’Brien, Megan Hurst is Head Girl to Robin Dickin and Alex Cairns works for Godolphin. Alex describes why he wanted to run for Racing Welfare “I have worked in the racing industry for 28 years and have seen first-hand what Racing Welfare do for stable staff. From housing, counselling, careers support, help through injury and so much more. I feel this charity is close to my heart.”
The team is completed by Jane Petrucci, a director at Body Plan Fitness in Fordham, just outside of Newmarket.
The team have a fundraising target of £29,000 and so far over £24,000 has been raised, with many more pledged amounts expected upon completion. Racing Welfare is funded entirely by voluntary donations, so the ongoing support of volunteer fundraisers, such as marathon runners, is incredibly important to maintain and develop the charity’s services.