Willow blog

Wonderful Willow 10K

October 4, 2016

On Sunday 2 October, the eighth annual Willow 10K sponsored by Wrights of Hatfield was held in the stunning Hertfordshire countryside in the grounds of Hatfield House. More than 800 runners and walkers took part to support Willow.

The weather was onside with some surprising October sunshine, which tempted locals to come and sign up on the day or to come and support their friends and family. There was a fun atmosphere in the popular Runners’ Village area with food, games, music, balloon-modelling and other treats for the runners and their supporters.

Bob Wilson, Willow Life President, welcomed the runners and announced that Willow’s 13,000th Special Day was taking place during the weekend. 33 year-old Luke then spoke about the lasting impact of his Special Day and why he was taking part in the Willow 10K.

Luke, who was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma, renewed his wedding vows to wife Kathryn, celebrating with their family friends. Luke spoke about how having his Special Day gave him the strength needed to keep fighting and to beat the cancer.

He said, “My Special Day was the start of me winning my fight. Following six hard months of chemotherapy I finally got the all clear and the night could go ahead. And boy did we enjoy ourselves. It was nice to spend time with all the people that had suffered my disease with me. Your family and friends go through just as much as you do.”

He then told the crowd that what Willow does is life changing and by being there and raising money made them heroes too, before running the 10K route. It was great to see other beneficiaries and families taking part too.

For a second time the event included the Willow 1K Junior Race and 5K route, which meant that all age groups and abilities were able to take part in the day of fundraising. There was lots of support on the side-lines and some very enthusiastic cheering throughout.

The funds are still coming in and the Willow 10K has raised more than £300,000 since it began. The funds raised will be invaluable in helping to create more Special Days for seriously ill young adults like Luke, who has found personal fulfilment since his 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 and event supporters Simmonds of Hatfield. Thanks also to BBC Three Counties presenter Nick Coffer, Martyn Oakey and New Pixels Photography.

A very big thank you also to our amazing team of volunteers and marshals and physios Nikhil Samuel and Navya Shastri who gave up their time to make this event such a success.

Official timing results can be found here
Photographs can be found here

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