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Success of 2022 Greencore Social Distancing Relay delights organiser Andy Beveridge



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Enthusiastic athletes played their part in a popular fundraiser which took place over the weekend.

On May 14 and 15, around 250 runners took to the streets and parks of Fenland and Norfolk to show their support for Mental Health Awareness Week, raising money for two local charities in the process.

Set up just after the first coronavirus lockdown and now in its third year, the Greencore Social Distancing Relay took place with runners from over ten clubs around East Anglia participating.

The 2022 Greencore Social Distancing Relay (Photo: Tim Chapman) (56700039)
The 2022 Greencore Social Distancing Relay (Photo: Tim Chapman) (56700039)

Residents of seven different countries including Bahrain, USA and Romania took part.

They have also been running in events around the UK, including Nottingham Outlaw Triathlon, Strabane-Lifford Half Marathon and the Mammoth Marathon.

Traditionally, the Greencore race began as a relay event with runners handing over to each other with a socially distanced wave.

Runners congregate outside Wetherspoons (Photo: Tom Richmond) (56700036)
Runners congregate outside Wetherspoons (Photo: Tom Richmond) (56700036)

This year, however, the event had a more social feel than distanced one.

The majority of runners joined the weekly parkrun in King's Lynn, with over 75 running the 5km course on Saturday.

The following day saw 40 participants starting from Tuesday Market Place and running around Clenchwarton.

There were also groups running from the Hudson Leisure Centre and Worzals in Wisbech.

Battling the course (Photo: Tim Chapman) (56700042)
Battling the course (Photo: Tim Chapman) (56700042)

The two charities involved this year were Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind and the 8:56 Foundation.

The former's services aim to have a very real impact on the lives of local people, organisations and community groups - and last year provided direct support to over 4,000 people with their mental health.

The 8.56 foundation are launching 'men’s time' events this week, which are set to bring men together through sport to improve mental health and reduce the risk of isolation and loneliness - with further events planned throughout 2022.

Jogging through Kings Lynn (Photo: Alan Colby) (56700047)
Jogging through Kings Lynn (Photo: Alan Colby) (56700047)

So far, the runners have raised over £3,750 - with donations still coming in.

Event organiser Andy Beveridge said: "When I started this back in 2020 after struggling myself through the lockdown restrictions, I would never have believed that a couple of years later, so many people would be running in the event.

"I am overwhelmed with their generosity and how people bought into my idea of uniting in support of a fantastic cause."

Enjoying the action (Photo: Tom Richmond) (56700033)
Enjoying the action (Photo: Tom Richmond) (56700033)

Andy is a member of Fenland Running Club.

Greencore general manager Paul Biggs added: "Andy approached me after last year's event, asking if we would be willing to support this years run.

"My management team decided that the combination of raising money for two local charities and people getting out participating in a healthy pastime was definitely something we could get behind and were proud to become the main sponsor."

Greencore provided over 300 T-shirts for everyone who took part in this year's event.

Altogether, the runners ran a combined 1,200 miles - which is the approximate distance by road between Wisbech and John O’Groats and then back again.

You can learn more about the race at www.socialdistancingrelay.org.uk

Andy can be contacted at andybev73@gmail.com



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