Walking the Courses – a champion charity challenge

Walking The Courses is Arena Racing Company’s Official Charity Partner for this year’s All-Weather Championships. Walking The Courses is raising much needed funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK and Racing Welfare.

What Is Walking The Courses?

In 2012, Richard Farquhar lost his father, Peter, to pancreatic cancer. Peter and Richard shared a love of horseracing and indulged this passion in each other’s company for many years. In his father’s memory, Richard has undertaken a remarkable 3,000-mile walk around mainland Britain, connecting all 60 of the nation’s racecourses on foot, in aid of two fantastic causes: Racing Welfare and Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Richard’s journey has captivated the hearts and minds of those in the racing world and beyond, featuring regularly on Channel 4 Racing and in national publications.

Richard is trying to raise a huge £1.4 million to be split equally between these two charities. To find out more about Walking The Courses, please go to www.walkingthecourses.com.

How Walking The Courses works

Each leg of Walking The Courses end with Richard’s arrival at a racecourse on the day that there is a race meeting. Richard completes each leg of the journey by walking a lap of the course itself, finishing at the winning post. Each racecourse-to-racecourse walk is staggered over 13 months, with the last walk taking place in April, 2016.

Walking The Courses is raising funds for two charities: Pancreatic Cancer UK (www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk, charity number 1112708) and Racing Welfare (www.racingwelfare.co.uk, charity number 1084042). The fundraising target is £1.4 million.

Richard settled on the £1.4m target upon hearing that in 2013, funding from the Department of Health into research into pancreatic cancer was just £700,000. Richard is determined that he will individually contribute at least the same amount to Pancreatic Cancer UK as the Department of Health did in 2013. Due to there being a second beneficiary, Racing Welfare, the total fundraising target is thus double this figure.

Pancreatic Cancer UK is the only national charity fighting pancreatic cancer on all fronts: support, information, campaigning and research. One person dies of pancreatic cancer every hour. Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival outcome of any of the 21 most common cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only about 4%. Survival rates have improved very little in over 40 years.

Richard lost his father, Peter, to the disease in 2012 and was inspired to embark on a fundraising challenge on the charity’s behalf when learning about the desperate lack of funding into the battle against the disease. Richard committed to the challenge upon hearing of the loss of trainer John Hills in June, 2014. Just five months later, another trainer, Dessie Hughes, lost his life to the same illness.

Racing Welfare provides professional guidance and practical help to current and retired stud, stable and support staff, and their families, in times of need. Its work is vital to the welfare of the unseen army of dedicated staff whose work is fundamental for the wellbeing of horseracing. The charity’s team offers advice on topics ranging from accidents and injuries through to addiction and recovery support.

Racing Welfare also owns and manages a portfolio of housing across the UK. To many, racing is a great day out. To an army of unsung heroes, however, it is also a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Racing Welfare supports these people.

Walking The Courses is being officially supported by many notable individuals within the horseracing industry. These include Clare Balding, Cornelius Lysaght (BBC), Charlie Hills, Oliver Sherwood, Lord Grimthorpe (Juddmonte Farms), Roger Weatherby (Weatherbys Ltd), Henry Beeby (DBS & Goffs), Nick Luck (Channel 4), Jonjo O’Neill and Roger Waley- Cohen, to name but a few.

How Are The All-Weather Championships Helping Walking The Courses?

At the launch of the 2015-2016 All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park Racecourse in late October of last year, Arena Racing Company (ARC) announced that, for the first time since the establishment of the series, it would be joining forces with charity campaign ‘Walking The Courses’ in a charity partnership that would help to boost the fundraising and profile of the project during the winter months.

This inaugural charity partnership, which draws to a close on All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, has been a resounding success for Richard Farquhar’s campaign and its co-beneficiaries.

Farquhar, who has now completed all but 135 miles of his 3,000-mile walk between all mainland UK racecourses, commented: “Being the Official Charity Partner of the All-Weather Championships this year has meant that ‘Walking The Courses’ has benefited from seven extra exit collections, which have collectively raised over £2,500 for Racing Welfare and Pancreatic Cancer UK. The final collection on Good Friday is likely to push that total close to £4,000.

“Both of these charities do the most fantastic work so this extra funding and publicity is invaluable to both of them. ARC should be applauded for the eagerness to establish the partnership and for the incredible support of, and commitment to, ‘Walking The Courses’ over the winter.

“I would like to say a big thank you to the All-Weather Championships team and to everyone at Lingfield Park, all of whom have gone out of their way to help time and time again.”

ARC has also benefited from having ‘Walking The Courses’ as the Official Charity Partner. Susannah Gill, Director of External Affairs, said: “We have been delighted to support Richard’s incredible efforts and are pleased the partnership with the All-Weather Championships has helped raised extra funds and awareness for both the charities involved.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Richard to Lingfield Park for Finals Day where he will undertake a walk of the course before racing, along with other activities throughout the afternoon.”

Walking The Courses

Walking The Courses is currently sponsored by Liontrust Asset Management Plc, Weatherbys Ltd and Subaru UK, the latter of which is providing a Subaru Outback (2015 series) as the support vehicle for the duration of the campaign. Walking The Courses is extremely grateful to these three companies for their sponsorship.

Walking The Courses’ website: www.walkingthecourses.com

Walking The Courses’ Twitter: @WalkTheCourses

Walking The Courses’ Facebook: www.facebook.com/walkingthecourses


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