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Tech firm’s team find sweet spot in Chariots of Fire fundraising

September 14th, 2017

Taking part in Chariots of Fire will not be a piece of cake for one tech company’s team – but fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK has been, with more than 230 sweet treats baked and sold to raise vital funds for dementia research.

The team from MediaTek are tackling Cambridge’s famous relay race on Sunday 17 September to raise funds for dementia research and their main fundraising event was a large bake sale for all the businesses at Cambourne Business Park.

The firm had 20 bakers who produced a huge volume of products. They sold more than 100 slices of cake, 50 cupcakes, 35 brownies, 25 cookies, 25 gingerbread men and dozens of other items including doughnuts, sausage rolls and pakoras.

The sale raised £262, which along with donations and sponsorship means they will have more than doubled their £500 target.

MediaTek, a Taiwanese company that develops systems-on-chip for smartphones, home entertainment, connectivity, automated driving and Internet of Things, has entered a team in the race for the last three years, raising money for the official charity, which changes each year. This year the cause is particularly poignant for team leader Paul Sinfield.

The software engineer said: “I know the effect dementia can have on a family because my nan passed away about four years ago with Alzheimer’s.

“At the time when she had to go into care I was bringing up a young family. As you can imagine it was tricky to go and see her with young children.

“I remember times when I went to see her, I’d speak to her saying ‘how you doing nan?’ and have a full conversation and then turn my back and she’d say to someone ‘who was that?’. It was heart breaking.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is a very worthy cause and it’s a pleasure to be raising money for them.”

The MediaTek team, which includes Francesc Boixadera, Brian Sweetman, Chuyi Qian, Rob Moffat and Ramesh Jayaraman, are a mixture of experienced and new runners.

Paul said: “Last year we did pretty well and came in the top 100. This year we have runners at all different levels. There are some people who’ve put their running shoes on for the first time and some who are out running regularly. But that’s the beauty of the event, you don’t need to be Sir Mo or Usain Bolt to enjoy the day and raise lots of money for a great cause.”

“Chariots of Fire is a cracking event and we are really looking forward to this year’s race.”

Meanwhile, a team of firefighters is hoping to be on hot form in the race.

Firefighters Ben Usher, Adam Robinson, Colin Garrett, Becky White, Jim Mclean and Gary Lines are all members of Black Watch based at Cambridge Airport, run by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.

Ben said: “As firefighters we are all reasonably fit. There’s a gym on site and, time permitting, we have an hour training session per day. We’ve all been doing a lot of work on the treadmill in preparation.

“The age range of the team is quite varied, going from one chap who is 57 to me being the youngest at 29.

“We’re looking forward to competing against the other Marshall teams and hopefully we will come out on top.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK is delighted to see so many varied teams running for life-changing dementia research this year.

Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events & Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We can’t thank all the teams supporting us enough for raising vital funds for dementia research and supporting the work we do to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025.”

The funds raised from this year’s Chariots of Fire will support a pioneering research project at the University of Cambridge, helping researchers to understand why people with Down’s syndrome are at such high risk of Alzheimer’s and driving progress towards effective treatments for everyone affected by the disease.

Chariots of Fire is organised by Hewitsons Charitable Trust, the charity established and supported by Solicitors Hewitsons LLP, and backed by the Cambridge News.

Marshall Firefighters Chariots of Fire

Researchers swap lab coats for running gear for Chariots of Fire 2017

September 14th, 2017

Chariots of Fire research teamA team of scientists are ready to take the baton in this year’s Chariots of Fire to further their fight against dementia.

Prof Michael Coleman will lead his team of dementia researchers from Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge’s famous relay race, which this year has chosen Alzheimer’s Research UK as its official charity.

The Cambridge scientist is committed to supporting the UK’s leading dementia research charity in both a professional and personal capacity, having helped with many fundraising projects, as well as sitting on the Charity’s Grant Review Board.

Prof Coleman said: “I have personally done a lot of work with Alzheimer’s Research UK over the years as it is driving such an important cause. We see how hard the charity works to obtain the money needed to fund research like ours so we have signed up with the aim of raising at least £500 between us.”

His team comprises a variety of researchers including Dr Romina Vuono whose research is directly funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

She said: “We wanted to not only fight dementia in the lab but in other ways too, so when we heard about Chariots of Fire we knew we wanted to enter a team to raise money and awareness.”

The team, which includes a cyclist, mountaineer, power lifter and a martial artist, have admitted to being a bit competitive and are already in training for the race which takes place later this month.

The researchers, along with hundreds of other race runners, are raising money for a pioneering brain imaging project at the University of Cambridge. It will provide scientists with a better understanding of the links between Alzheimer’s and Down’s syndrome to identify the windows of opportunity for future preventative treatments that could benefit everyone affected by Alzheimer’s.

Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events & Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“It is great to have the backing of Michael’s team, who are committed to helping us tackle the diseases that cause dementia, not only in the lab but also by raising money through Chariots of Fire.

“It is also impressive to see such a line-up of sportsmen and women in one team and we can’t wait to cheer them along on the day.

“It is only with the help of teams like Michael’s that we can bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025 so we hope many more teams sign up to support us before the big day!”

Chariots of Fire is organised by Hewitsons Charitable Trust, the charity established and supported by Solicitors Hewitsons LLP, and backed by the Cambridge News.

Charles Hewitson, Race Director, said “This is an event that many of us look forward to every year, seeing it as a good reason to try and get fit, and also knowing that we will be raising money for an important local charity is always the best possible incentive. Chariots of Fire is a perfect opportunity to enter a team with your colleagues or friends, it really encourages camaraderie and team spirit, which is always evident on the day.”

Training Tips for blazing a trail at Chariots of Fire

September 14th, 2017

With Chariots of Fire fast approaching it is recommended that, as part of a successful race, runners would benefit from training before the race on Sunday 17th September.

Starting off from Queen’s Green the runners will begin their scenic lap through the 1.6 miles course by racing across the Green and down into Silver Street, where a sharp left turn will take them into King’s Parade. After following the directions of the marshals the runners will enter the first of the three colleges, Trinity College. Running through the expansive grounds of the college the race runners will then loop around and be treated to a close viewing of Clare College as they run through her historic grounds. Leaving the quad of Clare behind them they will then turn right into King’s College where they will make their way through the grounds towards the river Cam . Taking in the stunning views of the backs the runners will leave the grounds to run along Queen’s Road before looping their way back onto Queen’s Green to hand their baton over to the next runner, all while being cheered on by marshals and crowds of spectators.

A map of the race route can be found on the Chariots of Fire website, http://www.chariots-of-fire.co.uk/resource/cof-2017-race-route/

To manage all the twists and turns of this unique course, it is recommended good practice for all participants, be they planning to run to win a prize or just for fun, to properly prepare for the race and limber up just as the original 1924 Olympians did.

Therefore to aid preparation below are some essential top training tips

  • Warm your body. While you may not feel like a professional athlete it is very important to treat your muscles like one. Warming up and stretching your muscles before each training session and race is vital to avoid injuries. It is recommended to perform about 10 minutes of stretching before you run, the last thing you want is a cramp when in the midst of beating your personal best.
  • Don’t ignore your body. Running may make you feel tired and sore but don’t ignore aches or pains that seem more than normal. Your body has limits and pushing yourself past them can do more damage than good, after all pushing yourself beyond the red line won’t help your body run if you have to skip the race due to injury.
  • Eat & Drink. Running and training is thirsty work. Always keep a suitable drink to hand so you can keep your body topped up with the liquids it needs. For eating however it is recommended that you only eat a light breakfast of carbohydrates 1 hour before running, eating any more will greatly increase your chances of developing a stitch.
  • Have fun. Chariots of Fire brings in a wide array of runners, from fast participants to casual fun runners. No matter how serious to take the race it is important that you have fun and raise awareness for this year’s official charity Alzheimer’s Research UK – as it is this diversity in runners that makes Chariots of Fire an enjoyable and successful event year after year.

Three-time Olympian to give starters orders at Chariots of Fire next month

August 25th, 2017

Former British javelin thrower Goldie Sayers will open this year’s Chariots of Fire race in Cambridge, in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The Suffolk-born athlete will start the race on Queens’ Goldie-OlympicsGreen along The Backs and will present the winners with their highly-coveted trophies.

She is looking forward to cheering teams on at the race, which is raising vital funds for a pioneering brain imaging project at the University of Cambridge. It will provide researchers with a better understanding of the links between Alzheimer’s and Down’s syndrome to identify the windows of opportunity for future preventative treatments that could benefit everyone affected by Alzheimer’s.

Goldie said: “I’m so proud to be representing Alzheimer’s Research UK at this year’s Chariots of Fire relay race on Sunday 17 September. As a local girl, it’s wonderful to see one of the area’s biggest fundraising events supporting such an important charity.

“Dementia touches the lives of millions of people across the UK, and investment into research is vital if we’re going to beat it. I can’t wait to see everyone at the start line, and cheer them all on.”

The Olympian enjoyed a 20-year career in javelin throwing, which saw her compete at three Olympic Games, five World Championships and three Commonwealth Games.

She is still the British record holder, having broken it at Beijing 2008, and is an 11-time national champion.

Prior to the race starting, runners will also be able to watch a performance by Alzheimer’s Research UK Champion Harry Gardner who performed in the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent this year.

Harry wrote and released Not Alone, a harry-tshirtcharity single for Alzheimer’s Research UK, last year, in honour of his 76-year-old nan Maureen McGuinness after she failed to recognise him for the first time. His nan sadly passed away before his first Britain’s Got Talent audition aired earlier this year.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the teams in Cambridge next month. It is great to see Chariots of Fire supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK as their work is so important. I support them and raise awareness so that other families don’t have to go through what we have been through with my nan.”

Harry will join Goldie in cheering runners on and encouraging people to get behind Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Tim Parry, Director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We are delighted to have both Goldie and Harry supporting us and all of the Chariots of Fire teams on the day.

“It is great to have their backing for the race as the study it is funding is so important and could provide fundamental answers for researchers trying to tackle Alzheimer’s disease, which is the biggest cause of dementia.

“With 15 years since the last treatment for Alzheimer’s, we’ve waited too long. It’s only through research that we can understand the diseases that cause dementia and develop the life-changing treatments that people with the condition so desperately need. We’d like to thank all the runners whose fundraising efforts will power pioneering dementia research.”

Charles Hewitsons, Race Director, said “It is always great to see so many people supporting Chariots of Fire and the official charity Alzheimer’s Research UK. We are grateful that Goldie & Harry have offered to give up their time to support this year’s race, with Harry performing his song for the crowd after the race starts. Spaces still remain for the race so make sure your teams are reserved before all 400 spaces have been taken”.

The race starts and finishes on Queens’ Green. Team registrations close on Wednesday 13 September at 5pm unless all 400 teams have registered before that date.

Calling Cambridge Colleges to enter Chariots of Fire

August 16th, 2017

This year Cambridge University will once again open its prestigious gates and grounds to Chariots of Fire participants on the 17th September. The route that this year’s runners will take passes through the picturesque grounds of Cambridge, including Trinity College, Clare College & King’s College.

The three colleges are long standing institutions that have been at the heart of Cambridge for centuries. Founded in 1326 Clare College is the eldest of the three. This deep history is complimented by King’s College and Trinity College, both veteran institutions whose dedication to research has netted 39 Nobel Prize Laureates between them.

Each year Cambridge’s Colleges support Chariots of Fire by entering a team to compete against each other for the Inter-Collegiate Cup. During this time the cup has changed many hands since the first Chariots of Fire race in 1992, with recent winners being King’s College, who have valiantly held onto first place for the past four years running.

Charles Hewitson, Race Director for Chariots of Fire said, “Every year the participants for Chariots of Fire are given the opportunity to run through three of the historic colleges of Cambridge. We are grateful to Trinity, Clare and King’s for allowing the race through their colleges as well as for their continued support for Chariots of Fire and the charities involved”.

The race starts and finishes on Queens’ Green. Team registrations close on Wednesday 13 September at 5pm unless all 400 teams have registered before that date.

To enter a team, visit http://www.chariots-of-fire.co.uk/enter or to find out more about Alzheimer’s Research UK and their research please visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org