Hundreds take part in annual Willow 10K fundraiser at Hatfield House

PUBLISHED: 17:39 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:39 07 October 2019

Fundraisers taking part in Sunday's Willow 10K run through the Hatfield House estate. Picture: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media Ltd

Fundraisers taking part in Sunday's Willow 10K run through the Hatfield House estate. Picture: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media Ltd

Scantech Media Ltd

More than 600 runners and walkers took part in the annual Willow 10K at historic Hatfield House on Sunday.

A group of runners who took part in the Willow 10K run in Hatfield. Picture: Christopher Dean / Scantech MediaA group of runners who took part in the Willow 10K run in Hatfield. Picture: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media

Back for its 11th year, the family event raises funds for Welwyn Garden City-based charity Willow, which is marking its 20th anniversary.

Willow is the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable 'Special Days'.

Hatfield House's Lady Salisbury officially started the race alongside Willow's co-founders, Bob and Megs Wilson.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob said: "We love this event, seeing the same faces return with a smile each year along with new runners and charity supporters joining every time, many of whom have a moving story as to why they are taking part or supporting Willow.

The start of the Willow 10K at Hatfield House. 
Picture: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media.The start of the Willow 10K at Hatfield House. Picture: Christopher Dean / Scantech Media.

"It's such a fun and friendly event which raises invaluable funds for Willow Special Days, which provide much-needed hope and happiness."

As well as the main 10K, the day included a 1K junior race and a shorter 5K route.

The weather held and competitors stayed dry around the scenic course, which includes areas not normally open to the public.

Hertfordshire resident Lizzie Erian shared her story about her own Willow Special Day following a diagnosis with Stage 4 oral cancer in January 2018, aged just 30.

Lizzie Erian with Bob Wilson after the 2019 Willow 10K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOLizzie Erian with Bob Wilson after the 2019 Willow 10K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Following surgery to remove half her upper jaw, and being told she may not be able to speak properly again, Lizzie has made a fantastic recovery and spoke articulately to the 10K participants.

She explained how the anticipation of her Special Day kept her motivated during treatment, and described the day itself as a "light at the end of a long dark tunnel".

Lizzie went on to run the 5K race, scooping a trophy as one of the top three finishers.

All participants were awarded a new wooden medal and finishers' T-shirt, sponsored by Simmons Bakers and Wrights Estate Agency.

The Willow 10K winners (l-r) Adam Wadley (2nd), Jay Munkley (1st) with Bob Wilson. Picture: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHYThe Willow 10K winners (l-r) Adam Wadley (2nd), Jay Munkley (1st) with Bob Wilson. Picture: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Since 2009, the Willow 10K has raised more than £385,000, with funds raised for 2019 not yet confirmed as sponsorship is still coming in.

Organisers are already planning next year's running festival a half marathon route new for 2020.

Sign up for all routes - Junior 1K, 5K, 10K and half marathon - at willowfoundation.org.uk/RunWithWillow

The Willow 10K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Willow 10K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

A finisher celebrates completing the Willow 10K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOA finisher celebrates completing the Willow 10K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Nicholas Murphy took home the third place men's trophy from Willow 10K run 2019 at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOONicholas Murphy took home the third place men's trophy from Willow 10K run 2019 at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Eleanor Newton took first place female in the Willow 10K at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOEleanor Newton took first place female in the Willow 10K at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Alice Carty was the second placed female in the Willow 10K at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOAlice Carty was the second placed female in the Willow 10K at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Caroline Bailes with her Willow 10K medal and prize at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOCaroline Bailes with her Willow 10K medal and prize at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Liz Nicolaou was the first female runner home in the Willow 5K at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOLiz Nicolaou was the first female runner home in the Willow 5K at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Second placed female 5K runner Lizzie Erian with her Willow trophy at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOOSecond placed female 5K runner Lizzie Erian with her Willow trophy at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Nigel Cavill claimed first place in the Willow 5K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOONigel Cavill claimed first place in the Willow 5K run at Hatfield House. Picture: DANNY LOO

Alistair Bennett claimed second place in the Willow 5K. Picture: DANNY LOOAlistair Bennett claimed second place in the Willow 5K. Picture: DANNY LOO

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