Ultra-running for St Francis

Paul Owen and his runners hand �2,000 to The Hospice of St Francis
Paul Owen and his runners hand �2,000 to The Hospice of St Francis

Running three miles every day for a year including Christmas Day and at 2.30am after a late-night party was just the start of the challenges for Paul Owen.

The 46-year-old dad-of-two, who is 5ft 8in but used to weigh more than 17 stone, took on that mission in 2012.

And he achieved it – as well as fitting in the odd 100-mile ultra race, a few marathons in various countries and writing an award-winning book.

Enough to warrant a good sit down for most, but for Paul – who now weighs 11 stone 10 pounds – this was all incidental compared to his biggest goal.

He launched the Hospice Running Club to raise money for Berkhamsted’s The Hospice of St Francis, which trains in the Ashridge Estate, Tring Park, Northchurch Common and elsewhere.

Participants are asked to donate what they want to after each session – and the group recently succeeded in taking in more than £2,000 for the good cause.

Paul lost his parents, his brother and his sister-in-law to cancer at a young age. This has clearly impacted on his need to constantly look for new challenges in his own life and also to raise awareness of the hospice movement.

He said: “I know first hand how they support not only the person that is ill but also the whole family so have always been involved in raising money.

“I knew I had to think of a new way of doing it as I’ve asked for race sponsorship so many times!”

Paul is a qualified running coach and can complete a marathon in less than three hours and 15 minutes.

He said: “I’d seen so many people running around the Hertfordshire countryside in charity vests I thought I would see if they were interested in a weekly charity club.”

The Wednesday morning Hospice Running Club was launched by Paul, who was backed by his company Sumner and Tabor Solicitors – corporate sponsors of the Berkhamsted charity. Paul is a partner at the firm.

Through pure word of mouth he got nine at the first session. The club now gets up to 18 at each Wednesday morning interval session and Monday night six-mile trail run. To learn more, email Paul at paul.owen@sumtab.co.uk