On Friday 20th March 2015, people from all corners of the racing industry gathered at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse to give fundraiser, walker and racing enthusiast, Richard Farquhar, a send- off to remember for the first leg of his epic fundraising venture, Walking The Courses. The next time that Richard is seen at the ‘home of horse racing’ will be in April 2016, by which time he will have covered approximately 3000 miles on foot and linked all sixty racecourses in mainland Britain, bit by bit, in what will eventually resemble an unbroken chain. This is the equivalent of walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End, back to John O’Groats, back to Land’s End, then across the country to Newmarket. Each leg of Walking The Courses will end with Richard’s arrival at a racecourse on the day that there is a race meeting. Richard will complete each leg of the journey by walking a lap of the course itself, finishing at the winning post.
Richard has set an ambitious and noble target of £1.4m in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK and Racing Welfare. Pancreatic cancer sadly claimed the lives of racing legends Dessie Hughes and John Hills in 2014 alone, as well as Richard’s father a couple of years previously. 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. The latter of the two chosen charities, Racing Welfare, provides professional guidance and practical help to the unseen army of dedicated staff whose work is vital for the well-being of horse racing.
Support for the challenge has been immense and many notable individuals within the horse racing industry have become involved; 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. The campaign is also being significantly supported by Sky’s horse racing channel, At The Races, who are committed to producing coverage throughout the thirteen months of the project.
Walking The Courses is looking for support not only in a sponsorship sense but to also boost morale by joining in. Richard said, “We want to get as many people as actively involved in the project as possible. To that end, there is a section in the ‘Team’ part of our website that invites people to join us for a leg of the journey (or part of a leg), if they wish to. As well as friends, family and supporters, I hope that many people within the racing world – trainers, jockeys, owners – will get involved, too, and that I will not have to walk any of the way on my own!” Richard shall finish he journey back at New- market at the Craven Meeting, one that he went to for 26 consecutive years with his father.
Here at drybrow, we were really keen to show our support for Richard’s challenge. Not only is he raising a phenomenal amount of money for two extremely worthy causes, but is doing so is such a unique way. Charlotte Barrow, founder of Drybrow Ltd worked for many years as a sports therapist in the racing industry and feels it’s vital to support this cause. She said “The racing world requires such a vast operation and includes many, many teams of individuals. It is these individuals who work tirelessly to ensure our equine athletes are cared for and can perform at top level sport. I feel a charity which considers the needs of these people is invaluable.” Drybrow are sponsoring Walking the Courses and providing Richards trusty cap with drybrow liners for the walk. “We are also hoping to get to a race meet to see him in and walk at lap in support. We urge everyone to get stuck in however they can.” On the publication of this blog on June 10th 2015 Richard had arrived at Chester racecourse and a grand total of £119,449.43p had been reached. #walkon Richard and hats off to you!
To find out more about Walking The Courses and to get involved, visit www.walkingthecourses.com. Or contact Minty Farquhar, Project Manager, Walking The Courses t: 07919 577 623 e:firstname.lastname@example.org