Twenty runners, a fully-fledged charity tent, nerves, excitement, laughter, relief, some pain, and oodles of smiles!  What a wonderful day Sunday 17th October was.

Power2Inspire has had runners at the Cambridge Half Marathon before, but this was different.  Thanks to our great friends and partners, Cambridge University Sports Centre, we were allocated 20 charity places at this year’s race.  Our runners came in all ages, sizes and shapes – but with two things in common: a desire to enjoy themselves and to raise funds for Power2Inspire!

The day started early.  Needing to park up on Midsummer Common before 7:00 am, I was up before 6:00 am, driving through the empty streets, and enjoying the unseasonal warm weather.  Andrea and Mark joined me, two intrepid volunteers.  They started by dressing our gazebo, ably erected on the Friday by our great friend Bob Barnes.  Tables, chairs, leaflets, banners and flags all set out and we were ready for our runners.  Well not quite – Mark acquired coffees and sausage rolls which made for a wonderful breakfast.

The runners came in clusters.  The Macklin familyJeremy, Debbie, Fiona and Hugo – had dragged along their partners, Jemima and Thea.  What a great family effort and all ran very creditable times, though Hugo’s was very fast!  Fiona and Thea in their CUBC kit (both Blues) sped round and looked as if they hadn’t disturbed a hair.  Hugo and Jemima are working on a trip for Power2Inspire to Magdalen College School, Oxford for a PowerHouseGames, which is exciting.

Guy Hinchley, an old schoolfriend, and former Managing Partner of Mills & Reeve, brought along his colleague Brian Marshall.  Guy completed his second half marathon thirty years after his first, a wonderful achievement.  Brian was concerned that interrupted training would jeopardise his run so his successful completion was even sweeter.  And he is fundraising for Power2Inspire post-event.

Justin Ott and Parthiban joined the Team back in January.  Justin had run a couple of half marathons for Power2Inspire a couple of years ago, the latter marvellously with our great friend Don Hutchinson, a World Ironman and coach; but for Parthiban this was his first.  Great preparation, a plan to pace himself, led to a perfectly executed race, finishing one minute inside his targeted time.  Well done Parthiban.

Edward Delville-Jones was our youngest runner – he is in his last year at Rugby.  He blitzed the course in 1 hour 29 minutes, captured expertly by dad Gareth in front of one of our new banners.

Trustees Gemma Thake and Vanessa Ibbett added to their board role by taking on the challenge.  Vanessa persuaded friend Steve Barnard to run and fiancé Tom to carry the flag – literally a rucksack with a flag banner.  Volunteer Steve Shaw joined Tom in moving to different vantage points on the course to cheer and clap.  Dan Blackburn and family stood in Grantchester at the 8 mile banner and clapped and shouted so hard comments came back to me!

Ieva Andraityte, Marissa Snook and Elisabetta Conti came separately but faced the challenge with similar nerves, but they all completed and smiled so much afterwards I thought we could power the whole event.  Well done ladies.

Mark Howarth, our virtual boat race friend from mch.london (big shout out for his firm – see the links on the front page) fought a bad back and aggravating feet in turn to complete and raise another stonking amount of money for the charity.

We were joined by Johnny Pickthorn and his ‘I am supporting not running’ dad Tom, who is also from Mills & Reeve, as our tent was so convivial, and Johnny knows Edward.  Hopefully they can add their fundraising efforts to the Team Power2Inspire page.

Ian Hunneybell (whose partner Andrea got up early and supported) is a veteran of these events but had never run the Cambridge Half.  He galvanised the team in the last weeks, creating a WhatsApp group and provided much needed advice and encouragement.  He liked the flat nature of the course but all the runners commented quite how tiring the long incline back from Grantchester was – not as flat after all as they had believed.  The course received compliments all round – running through the colleges and along the backs was a treat.

Sam Mascarenhas was a lovely addition to the team, coming in through the internet.  This was his first half marathon and he stormed home in 1 hour 30 minutes, a remarkable effort.  Thanks Sam and I am so pleased raising money to ensure “No one is left on the bench!” resonated with you.

And a final big shout out to Katherine Rutherford, who fundraised for us, but entered through her own steam, rather than one of our charity free places.  Her fundraising of over £650 has been stupendous and will enable us to deliver more PowerHouseGames in schools like Duxford (see the latest blog) and see Inclusion through Sport in action!

Thanks to all the other supporters (Annabel, Kate, Rose, Sam to name some) for making this a great day.

I will leave the final word to our chair Jeremy Macklin:

“It is not too late to support the runners by giving to fund the great work Power2Inspire does.  Nobody got left on the bench on Sunday, and we work to ensure that keeps happening everywhere we go.  See you all next year – Sunday 6th March 2022.”

Inspired? Then Get Involved!

If you would like to support us in our mission to “embed inclusive sport in the sporting, education and community landscapes” then we would love to hear from you. We are always looking out for people willing to fundraise for Power2Inspire through their own inspiring means. Or, you could volunteer at one of our events, or you could give to the ongoing work of Power2Inspire. Click the button here to find out more.

John Willis

CEO & Founder, Power2Inspire