It is in the mood of this deep appreciation that we began discussing the future of the run. After 3 successful years it certainly seems we have established ourselves in what we set out to achieve, and we have certainly become part of the running calendar of a great many people. We certainly want to continue the event as a legacy to Pete, as it reflects the best parts of the person we remember – warmth, happiness and the capacity to bring people together and send them away happier than they began.
We have been afforded so much joy on each of the 3 Sundays on which the run has taken place so far that we cannot really repay anybody for their support, for the consent people as a community, especially of Handsworth as well as further afield, have given us to remember someone so dear to us and help us through the personal trauma of loss. It has helped to heal some of the things that can be healed so it feels selfish in a way now to keep hold of this positive experience just for ourselves. We want to do the only thing we can do to really show our appreciation to the community of people that have done so much for us, which is to give the emphasis of the event back to the community it takes place in.
For that reason, we will be changing the name of the run, starting with the event we are organising in September 2017, to the Handsworth Park 10k Fun Run. This will always be Pete’s run, because without him we would not be here to talk of an event in the first place. If it had not been for Tonia and Rachel asking my father whether we could organise a run in Handsworth Park and to name it in memory of Pete, it is hard to imagine what else could have lifted those dark days. The focus of the run organisation, especially the formation of the Boathouse Runners has connected us to the community in a way that had not happened for us before. In a way this connection filled voids, affected our feelings of loss, in a way that reminded us of the way that Pete connected with people. His legacy will remain in our fundraising for the British Heart Foundation, in the positive atmosphere we always hope to maintain and the fact that we have been brought into the heart of our local community, the neighbourhood where we grew up by the memory of his spirit in life and we will be here as long as we keep a community of supporters to join us every year.
It feels the right time to make this change and I look forward to continuing this gift in my life as a gift to a place I love, for people I love for being there and making this all happen around me. You will notice the name changing, but we hope to keep everything else which has worked so well the same. Especially the cake and samosa stall at the finish line!
John Hayes (on behalf of the organisers of the Pete Hayes Handsworth 10k Fun Run).