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Water of life for runners as churches support half marathon

Local churches will be meeting the need of the thirsty in September at the third Ealing Half Marathon in West London ...

Local churches will be meeting the need of the thirsty in September at the third Ealing Half Marathon in West London.

Some 6,000 runners will be taking part on 28 September – the race starts and finishes in Lammas Park, one of West London's most picturesque parks and take in parts of Central Ealing, Montpelier, Pitshanger, West Ealing, Hanwell and St Stephen's. 

The race was started as an Olympic legacy event and has won several awards including "Number One Half Marathon in the UK - The Running Awards 2014".
 
Local Church of England churches are an integral part of this community event, as they manage all the water stations along the race route, outside their church buildings. Runners pass St Peter’s, St Barnabas, St Stephen’s, St John’s and St Mary’s and will be offered water and a cheery welcome at each.

The churches take the opportunity to make a lively community celebration of the whole affair and all see this is a great outreach opportunity - not just supporting a healthy community event, but also getting churches noticed as the lively places they really are as runners and their supporters pass. 

Most volunteers are provided from within the congregations, but others are always sought and welcomed from outside. To join the team, sign up at www.ealinghalfmarathon.com/volunteer.

After the 2013 run, organizer Sandra Courtney thanked the churches and said “The feedback from the runners has been astounding, the positivity you and your congregations provided was noticed by all and I really hope you enjoyed it.” 

Runner Godfrey Rust said, “I was able to get a dousing at all five water stations and I can say from the runner’s point of view you all did a brilliant job and with obvious enthusiasm.”
 
Peter's MacKenzie, vicar of St John with St James, West Ealing says: "We found it a great way to serve our local community and to support this wonderful event. We opened the building to spectators who were also able to use the facilities and we served tea and coffee.  There was a good community spirit on the streets that day."
 
Volunteer Hilary Nicholl says, “it was enormous fun helping at the St Barnabas water station. We had lots of support from the local Rotary club and ours was also a real family affair with lots of Scout families coming along and helping out together. The Scouts were impressed to be awarded a medal for the efforts at the end, and many wore them proudly in to the church service afterwards”.
 
Half-marathon website: www.ealinghalfmarathon.com/
 
Photos by Sandra Courtney

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