Congratulations to our winning group leaders!


Congratulations to Neil Gunn and Hilary Wharam who were the lucky winners of our Virgin Money London Marathon ballot for group leaders and each won an entry into the 2014 event! Both are now well into their preparation for this year’s race – which will see Great Britain’s Olympic hero Mo Farah make his debut over the 26.2 mile distance!

At 72 years of age, Hilary manages an arthritic spine and is considered to be her club’s ‘runspiration’! She has run London in the past but is looking forward to doing so again to show that age and disability need not prevent anyone from completing a marathon. Hilary is a group leader at the Run Leeds – Horsforth Harriers Absolute Beginners group. The club’s six week beginners courses are well organised and designed to introduce people to the joys of running while supporting them in progressing at their own rate. You can find out more about Hilary’s beginners group at

Neil Gunn is a group leader at the Macclesfield Run England group. Neil’s group is linked to Macclesfield Harriers & AC and the intention is that runners will be able to progress from being beginners to joining one of the other groups at the club. It is a friendly and inclusive club, but the beginner’s group provides another outlet for those who are new to running to start getting involved. Macclesfield Run England has its own very informative blog which you can view at Neil was injured this time last year, so is hoping to make amends as he prepares for the 13th April.

Good luck to both Hilary and Neil as they prepare for the big day!

Our Virgin Money London Marathon ballot for group leaders came just after our traditional ‘Santa Run’ competition in which we asked everyone to submit their festive running pictures and the one with the most votes (‘likes’ on Facebook) was crowned the winner.

Hamstreet Santa Run winnersHamstreet Santa Run winnersCongratulations to Sandi Starling – group leader at the Hamstreet Run England group – who submitted a fantastic image of a 24-strong group all kitted out in festive elf/reindeer/Santa costumes (pictured, right) and managed to gain a whopping 197 votes to claim a well-deserved runaway victory! 

After entering the local Folkestone Santa Fun Run in 2012 with six runners dressed as ‘Mrs Santa’, Sandi decided Hamstreet Run England should enter again in 2013 and got hold of 10 reindeer costumes. However, she encountered a slight problem when 24 of her group members expressed that they wished to take part – so Sandi added elf and Mr & Mrs Santa outfits into the equation! The group even went to great lengths to sew tinsel to their outfits as well as letters on their backs so that everyone knew they were Hamstreet Run England! 

Sandi said: “I think everyone was so proud of their costumes they were really pleased to share the photo to try and win the competition.  The banner in the photo was donated to us by one of our runners who couldn't make the Santa Fun Run and this was its first outing!

“I am a volunteer leader, I love running and since I gained my Leadership in Running Fitness qualification I have really enjoyed helping others grow to love running too – even running up hills which is necessary to get out of our little village! I'm so proud to be the leader of such a large group of runners.”

Well done to Sandi and all of the Hamstreet Run England group who won £50 worth of kit from the England Athletics store. The competition was tough as there were plenty of great photos submitted – click here to view all of the entries!

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