2018 Colchester Half Marathon raises £65,000 for two Essex charities

The 2018 Colchester Half Marathon raised £65,000 which will be split between the Essex & Herts Air A

The 2018 Colchester Half Marathon raised £65,000 which will be split between the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust and MS-UK. Picture: LIAM AUSTIN - Credit: Archant

Two Essex charities have been given a huge boost thanks to this year’s Colchester Half Marathon.

MS-UK runners
James Dewar, Luke Holmes, Andrew Kenealy with the charity's mascot ahead of the start

MS-UK runners James Dewar, Luke Holmes, Andrew Kenealy with the charity's mascot ahead of the start of the 2018 Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

This year’s event raised £65,000, which will be shared between the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust and MS-UK.

A cheque was presented this week to representatives of the two charities where the money was split 75% – 25% between them.

Race director Liam Austin, who was in charge of the race for the first time this year, said the total raised, which is an increase of £5,000 compared to 2017, is “an immense amount of money”.

He said: “We’re ecstatic. When you know how much it will help our charities it makes all the hard work worth it.

Around 4,000 runners took part in this year's Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: NIGE BROWN

Around 4,000 runners took part in this year's Colchester Half Marathon. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

“I’m really proud of the whole team for putting on this fantastic event. It all went according to plan, the weather was in our favour and there was great support all around the course.”

The figure raised was helped by contributions from sponsors, including Griffin Chapman, but does not factor in individual sponsorship, so the overall total is likely to be much higher.

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Jill Purcell, fundraising manager at Colchester-based MS-UK, said: “MS-UK is delighted to receive this fantastic donation of £16,250 which will go a long way to helping us to continue to provide vital support to anyone affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

“The half marathon was a fantastic day and really well organised. The atmosphere was brilliant and it was great to see so many runners and their supporters enjoying the event, a real credit to the Colchester community.”

Organisers are aiming for Colchester Half Marathon to be 'bigger and better' in 2019. Picture: NIGE

Organisers are aiming for Colchester Half Marathon to be 'bigger and better' in 2019. Picture: NIGE BROWN - Credit: Archant

The event, held on March 25, attracted more participants than ever before, with 4,000 runners signing up for the 13.1 mile race around the town.

Preparations for the 2019 race are due to get underway in May and Mr Austin is keen to make it “bigger and better”.

He added: “We made more revenue this year and we did invest that in things like our website and made safety a number one priority with signage and things like that.

“If we get the same number of volunteers we will make it bigger and better next year.

“We want to increase to 4,500 - 5,000 runners and we’ve had a clear steer from the adjudicators that we can do that.”

The event sponsors are Griffin Chapman, Tesco, Leisure World, Porsche, Boydens, Ellisons and Outdoor Hire Centres.

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