Once again I took to the sunny seaside streets of Southend to support and photograph runners in the annual Havens Hospices Southend Half Marathon. This year I decided to base myself around the start finish general area . I have got to know many more runners in and around Southend in the last year or so including those in the Southend Flyers running group so it was good to get out to support and photograph. The day had a tragic end however as we learned that local runner Nick Palmer had collapsed after finishing the run and died soon after despite the best efforts of the emergency services who treated him. Nick was known to me and many of my running friends which makes this tragedy all the worse.
So writing this blog is tinged with sadness for all those affected by this tragic event of which there are very many. Everyone who took part on Sunday will be effected in some way and the messages of condolence that I have read have been heartfelt and will provide some small comfort to Nick’s family and friends. Do please continue to hold them all in your thoughts. There are many people who did take part in and complete the Half Marathon which is a great achievement in itself and all the more so for the heat we had. I took over 4,500 photographs so it is right that I share them and salute you all for your individual achievements today.
If you took part then you will undoubtedly seen me. I started off wandering around the start area snapping candid shots of runners getting ready plus a load of the Flyers Southend running group. I also dropped by the Bodyworks tent and said boo to ace sports therapist Kieran Mote as he inflicted his ‘soothing’ hands to Flyer Rich Pryor.
At around 9.30 I strode down toward the seafront to capture runners at about mile 1.5. I was stood on a step ladder in the middle of the road in a traffic island as your turned left out of Gunners Park and onto the Eastern Esplanade – just before you got to The Shorehouse and the seafront proper. I was in a bright orange Flyers Southend shirt. Fairly hard to miss. After that I wandered back to the start.
I had intended to photograph the fun runners as they went around Gunners Park but the main runners took too long passing me by so by the time I wandered back they had nearly all got back to the finish. Fortunately Liz Jude and little O decided to hang back just so I could snap them crossing the finish which was ace. I then spent from the first finishers to about 12.30 snapping away at the finish again on my steps so a head and shoulders above the throng.
I’m sorry if I stopped snapping before you finished. After I was told of the unfolding events my heart really wasn’t in it. I think I got most people either at the 1.5mile mark or at the finish. If not then you’ll just have to run a bit faster next time.
So all the photos I took are included in albums on my Google+ site that can be accessed via the links below. As ususal I have uploaded low resolution (although still pretty decent) images and these can be used royalty free for Facebook and the like. If you would like copies of the high resolution versions then email me at email@example.com and I will send them to you. Once you have them you can decide what they are worth and you can donate a modest amount to charity. You can still do so too if you just stick to the low res versions if you like.
My intention for the photos was to ask for donations to my chosen charity however that is not right under the circumstances and so I would ask you to just visit the JustGiving site that has been set up by Darren Chaplin and donate to the Nick Palmer Memorial Fund for Great Ormond Street Hospital Childrens Charity. The link is below.
So the album links are below. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and that if you do then add a little extra to the Memorial Fund via the link above. And do tell your friends if they took part in the event too and get them to stop by.
I’ll add a few more photos on this page in due course too.
And finally just to add again my own personal condolences to Nick’s family and friends and this most difficult time. All of you take care when you go out and run or cycle or just go about your daily lives – and tell the ones you love how much they mean to you often.