This Sunday, the 14th June, runners from across the UK will join the enthusiastic locals of Southend to participate in the 2015 Southend Half Marathon; fundraising for Havens Hospices. Over 20,000 people have taken part since its inception in 1995 when it was originally named the Jim Peters’ Southend Half Marathon in memory of the former record holder of the world’s fastest marathon, who lived in Thorpe Bay.

The half marathon is Southend’s premier running event, attracting hundreds for a charity fundraiser along one of britain’s most beautiful coastal routes (not that we’re biased at all), flat terrain with no traffic, followed by a fun-filled day out with friends and family at Southend seaside.

On the day, there will be various facilities provided for the runners, including:

  • Event parking
  • Changing facilities
  • Free baggage store
  • Hot & cold refreshments
  • Sports therapy massages (available for a small fee)
  • Chip timing
  • Medals for all finishers and trophies in all categories
  • Running supply shop


2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Southend Half Marathon run, so we are hoping that this year will be a HUGE event for everyone taking part and want to do our best to encourage those runners who still haven’t registered to book your tickets now!  Over 2,500 people have signed up to compete in the Southend Half Marathon so far, with online registration closing tomorrow! Don’t panic though, runners can also sign-up to run on the day, with registration open from 7.30am until 9am.

As you can imagine, the race attracts runners of all calibre’s and capabilities. Last week I spoke to a couple of participants in the Southend Half Marathon, past and present, in a bid to find out what inspires people to run a half marathon (that’s just over 21 KM’s)! Here’s what some of Southend’s local runners had to say about their half marathon journey, and what they hope to achieve from taking part in the race.

“I started running after the birth of my second child three years ago as it was the cheapest way to shed post pregnancy pounds! This upcoming event will be my fourth half marathon! I love the preparation, which gives me precious time on my own, listening to my own music and thinking about only what I want to think about.

I’m not a serious athlete so I don’t particularly have a nutritional plan. I try to eat healthily all the time anyway and just make sure I up my carbohydrate intake in the days running up to a big run. Southend half marathon allows a great opportunity to run along a part of the country that I am very proud to be from and I intend to enjoy every minute of Sunday’s event.”

– Jenny Moore, 31, Eastwood

“I started running seriously 8 years ago to lose weight although I have always been into running for the past 20 years but have always stopped and started. The same with lifting weights. I run to make myself feel good and also to help me keep a bit trim. I am running approximately 18 miles a week at the moment, with my long run being 10 miles and 2 shorter run throughout the week being 4 miles each. I also lift weights once a week to aid my running performance.

My typical daily diet consists of lots of eggs and egg whites for breakfast with a slice of granary toast. A banana and protein shake post run. Tuna/chicken/turkey salad for lunch with fruit. Snacks consist of a handful of nuts. Then I’ll have chicken or lean beef mince with brown pasta or sweet potato and 50g of green veg such as Broccoli.

I am running the Southend Half Marathon in June for two reasons. The first is because I am running a marathon in October this year, the other is because a very good friend of mine unfortunately and tragically died last year, after crossing the finish line of the Southend Half Marathon. So I am also fundraising for his chosen charity which is GOSH.”

– George Fawkes, 40, Ashingdon


This year the theme of the run is ‘Celebrate Running, Celebrate Life’ with the run this year dedicated to Nick Palmer who died moments after completing the race last year. Runner and father of one Nick, 37, was a member of the Southend Flyers Running Club. A minute long applause will be held ahead of Nick’s son, George, sounding the klaxon to set runners on their way.

Events Manager for Havens Hospices, Judy Grocott, said:

“Nick’s death after last year’s race was a tragedy and, with the blessing of his family, we want to celebrate Nick’s life and his love of running this year. After the minute long applause George will sound the klaxon and set runners off in waves at 9.30, 9.32 and 9.34am. The route is fully marshalled with 13 water stations and additional sponge stations. The atmosphere this year will be slightly different as we remember Nick but with so many runners expected, it really will be a celebration of Nick’s life and running.”

Louise Johnson and the team from The Body Matters sports therapy clinic in Leigh-on-Sea, will be offering sports massage from a tent located at the start and finish line. Louise is qualified in many areas of massage therapy and is also a personal trainer. Louise has kindly offered the following helpful tips for those thinking about taking part in the Southend Half Marathon:

“Though you do want to ensure that you remain well hydrated, sometimes our bodies tend to trick us into thinking that we are hungry – when in fact we are thirsty. Try to make sure that you don’t overload on fluids or nutrition prior to the race, keep your intake steady and healthy.

Sunscreen is definitely a must! You never know how the weather will turn out on the day.

Don’t start off too fast, or get caught-up in somebody else’s race. If you find yourself doing this then be aware that you are running at a different pace from how you would normally run, and that you can ‘blow up’, ruining your race.

Manage your expectations beforehand. Decide if you are willing to stick with your training buddy before you start running the Southend Half Marathon. Otherwise it may cause unwanted stress, or arguments during the race.

A massage tent is available for all runners at the start and end of the Southend Half Marathon. A sports massage will help to warm up your muscles before running and will aid recovery after the event.

Good luck to all of the runners and enjoy the Southend Half Marathon! Hopefully you’ll achieve a PB if that’s your goal!”

In 2014, a total of more than £125,000 was raised for Havens Hospices – a fundraising record for them. Let’s make this year even better! Check out our event listing here for more details and how to book your place for the 2015 Southend Half Marathon.

Remember: Every mile you run will be ‘Making every day count’ for the children, adults and families that Havens Hospices care for.