Half Marathon becomes a sprint

As news of the Queens death broke on Thursday evening it became apparent there would be a distinct possibility that the Richmond Half could be cancelled. What unfolded in the next 48 hours, will reside in the annals of Stanmore Jafferys as a story to tell our children for years as SJ Running organised a fully supported Half Marathon event in 48 hours allowing over 30 gents and ladies to successfully complete their half marathon.

Thursday night

As news started to filter through, messages started to ping across WhatsApp groups. “What’s happening to the Richmond Half?” “Is it cancelled?”. “Surely it will be cancelled, it starts in the Royal Botanic Gardens”. SJ Running knew they had to be on the front foot and have a plan B ready in the event the Half was cancelled. The overriding feeling was the runners had trained really hard for this half, for many their first, money had been raised for WF-Aid’s Ali Asghar Water Appeal. We had to organise our own half marathon somehow. The team convened a late night phone call and an embryonic half marathon event started to take shape.


As news of Richmond Half’s cancellation broke on Friday at 11.34am, disappointment was word itched on everyone’s lips. But thoughts quickly turned to activating plan B. The runners were informed there would be an event and full details would follow. The brains behind the operations started to add more meat to the plan, ensuring the event had all the elements of a half marathon event, a registration process, water stations, marshals anything and everything to make sure the event felt as special as the running team could make it.


Saturday was all about a call to action. Would volunteers put their hands up to help make it an event? But one thing we know, when SJ has to rally its base together, it never ever disappoints. Offers of help came flooding in. People were determined to do anything they could to support. Trips were made to secure water and food. Chairs and tables were dusted down. Food was donated in copious amounts.


And so to the big day. The day all the participants had been training for the last 2 months. Hours and hours on the road would pay off today. The ladies began to arrive from 8am and were welcomed with fruits and drinks. The ladies were flagged off and were met by enthusiastic children handing out water bottles at water stations and marshals cheering their every step.

While personal records were broken, the overriding feeling from the participants was of breaking through glass ceilings. Some had overcome a huge amount mentally just to complete the Half. They were greeted by family members at the end, with a full on medal ceremony and presentation of finisher T-Shirts to add the icing on the cake of a memorable day.

And they were reminded, there’s only one word on their finisher T Shirt that matters, FINISHER. And each and every single one of the runners was a finisher.

#wedidthis #wedidthistogether