Willow blog

Willow 10K Success

October 5, 2015

On Sunday 4 October, the seventh annual Willow 10K was held in the stunning Hertfordshire countryside at the grounds of Hatfield House. More than 600 runners and walkers took part – and what a great day for a fun run. Luckily, the weather was on our side with some surprising October warmth and sunshine. The trees were just turning autumnal yet the sky was blue – a fabulous, magical setting that made a fantastic backdrop for such a test of endurance.

As usual, the Runners’ Village area was fantastically popular, with refreshments, games, face-painting and other treats for our runners and their supporters.

After Bob Wilson, Willow’s Life President, welcomed the runners, we were lucky enough to hear from 33-year-old Jackie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her Special Day took her on the Orient Express. Jackie spoke about the personal journey she’s started thanks to her Special Day: she has learnt to see herself as a woman first and a cancer patient second and she said that the Willow cause reminded her of what life is really about. Jackie bravely ran her first 10K a week before her final round of chemotherapy, and then ran another to celebrate the end of her treatment. We would like to thank Jackie for her inspirational and kind words on the day, not to mention another 10K run in aid of Willow.

This year also saw the introduction of the Willow 1K Junior Race and 5K route,which meant that all age groups and abilities were able to take part in our day of fundraising. There was lots of support on the side-lines and some very enthusiastic cheering throughout. We loved seeing so many keen young runners on the day and hope to see you again next year.

Once again we were joined by Martyn Oakey from Nuffield Health, who did some motivational and fun warm-ups for kids and adults. This helped add to the excitement and atmosphere of the day, whilst getting the runners raring to go.

Bob Wilson said: “It is fantastic to see some familiar faces and indeed some new faces, particularly the younger competitors taking part in the Junior 1K. How wonderful to see such a diverse group of people of all ages coming together to support Special Days. Willow’s Special Days are about spending time with family and making treasured memories, and the Willow 10K is always a fun event for the whole family. Today has been truly memorable and heart-warming.”

The Willow 10K has raised more than £250,000 since it began. We expect the final amount from this year to be tallied up any day now. The funds raised will be invaluable in helping to create more Special Days for seriously ill young adults like Jackie, who has found personal fulfilment since her Day and is now a fully fledged part of Team Willow.

Special thanks go to Lord Salisbury for allowing us to use the beautiful grounds at Hatfield House once more and to the event sponsors, Wrights of Hatfield and our event partners, Nuffield Health, Hospitality House and event supporters Simmonds of Hatfield.

A very big thank you also to our amazing team of volunteers and marshals who give up their time to make this event such a success.

Official timing results can be found here

View all photographs from the Willow 10K

Photography by Kevin Lines and Scantech Media