Wallsend Harriers & AC runner in the Virtual Gordon Smith RelaysImage: Mish Margison

Virtual Gordon Smith Relays winning handover for St Oswald’s Hospice

People power at Wallsend Harriers & ACs Virtual Gordon Smith Relays results in a fundraising winner.

The running community in the North East showed why people come first as their substantial donations exceeded the fundraising target at the Virtual Gordon Smith Relays. They dug deep for St Oswald’s Hospice whilst running their socially distanced two mile legs in sweltering conditions. 

The Gordon Smith Relays is a popular annual event organised by Wallsend Harriers & AC, named in honour of a former club chairman who made a lasting impression at the club. Unfortunately, this race along with the Terry O’Gara Memorial 5K was unable to go ahead due to the coronavirus outbreak; however, the club held a virtual alternative between Sunday 24 May and Saturday 30 May. This involved men’s and women’s teams of three – one member had to be 35 or over – running two miles each on routes with minimal elevation.

Whilst these two mile legs were solo this was a collective effort that saw more than 400 runners in over 130 teams doing their bit. The event was free to enter but Wallsend Harriers & AC are long-standing supporters of St Oswald’s Hospice who like other charities is struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. The club asked runners to make a donation, large or small, to this charity and set a fundraising target of £500 but were blown away by the sheer generosity of the running community. 

The fundraising total now stands at £1,350. 

Wallsend Harriers & AC has undertaken a number of fundraising initiatives over the last 12 years that includes ‘The Toby’ – an annual coast to coast relay run covering more than 160 miles in three days. Over £40,000 has been raised for St Oswald’s Hospice. They have also hosted virtual quizzes, strength & conditioning sessions and a Strava art competition to keep members in touch with each other during lockdown. 

Their motto is “People Need People” and these words have become especially relevant as we emerge from lockdown and adapt to what has been termed a ‘New Normal’. 

All donations welcome at Wallsend Harriers' Just Giving page.

Image courtesy: Mish Margison

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