Wallsend Harriers keep moving thanks to virtual run

Wallsend Harriers running club has been a fantastic long-term supporter of St Oswald’s Hospice. Over the last 12 years, the club’s annual ‘Toby Run’ – a relay run covering 160+ miles over three days – has raised more than £40,000 for St Oswald’s, and the members were determined not to let the recent lockdown measures get in their way of fundraising for the hospice.

Each year, Wallsend Harriers organise and host the Gordon Smith Relays in honour of a former club chairman. Due to the restrictions around the Coronavirus pandemic, the race couldn’t go ahead as planned, so the Harriers decided to run the event virtually. The three-person team relay sees each runner covering two miles and it is open to all North East running clubs. The Harriers invited teams to take part between Sunday 24 May and Saturday 30 May 2020, with 12 local clubs signing up, submitting their times once completed. There was no entry fee, instead Wallsend Harriers asked runners to consider making a donation to St Oswald’s Hospice through a JustGiving page.

Wallsend Harriers Club Secretary, Elaine Ashton said: 

When we launched the JustGiving page for St Oswald’s, we set what we thought was an ambitious fundraising target of £500. To our astonishment, thanks to the North East running community’s overwhelmingly generosity, the total is now well over £1,300! 


Wallsend Harriers, in their centenary year, have hosted a number of virtual events to keep their club members connected. There have been weekly online strength and conditioning sessions, a virtual centenary quiz and even a Strava art competition!


The phenomenal fundraising efforts of the Virtual Gordon Smith Relays for St Oswald’s Hospice tie in with Wallsend Harriers’ motto, ‘people need people’ now more than ever in these strange times.

We would like to say a huge and wholehearted thank you to the Wallsend Harriers for choosing to support us through their virtual run, and to all of the participants and their friends and family who donated. At a time when it is very difficult for us to fundraise through our own events, the support of our community is vital. It means so much that people are thinking of us. 

You can donate to Wallsend Harriers fundraiser for St Oswald’s by visiting their JustGiving page here.



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