Readers' Letters

Editor’s comment: Why did I say I’d run this thing again?

PUBLISHED: 15:03 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:03 16 May 2018

Runners set off at last year's Hackney Half. Picture: VIRGIN SPORT

Runners set off at last year's Hackney Half. Picture: VIRGIN SPORT


I’ve somehow managed to convince myself my catastrophic fear of running is a good thing.

After all, some very generous folk have sponsored me to the tune of nearly £300 to run the 13.1-mile course on Sunday, so the least I can do is make it exciting for them by being hopelessly underprepared.

My default state after about 100 metres is something akin to a slow-motion panic attack, a heady blend of claustrophobia at being out of breath and fear of my own self-judgement should I give up.

Thank goodness for the Gazette team trainer Matt Smith, who has not only agreed to run the course alongside us (and raise money for the Winter Night Shelter while he’s at it) but has also been helping me recover from a minor but painful knee injury. I’ve set foot inside a gym five or six times in my entire life, and all of them have been this year and thanks to him.

A little jog through Hackney is, of course, absolutely nothing compared with the daily struggle faced by the men and women who rely on the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. The shelter’s volunteers and staff do incredible work providing beds, food, shelter, company and advice to some of Hackney’s most vulnerable people. But because funding is tight, it’s closed now, and it probably won’t be open until November, meaning as I write this some of the people it helps are back on the streets. Everyone deserves access to a safe, stable, warm home; it is a scandal that thousands of people in Hackney don’t have that.

Archant, which publishes the Gazette, will match all the money we raise in donations. With Gift Aid on top, you’re giving the shelter more than double what actually comes out of your pocket. It’s a pretty good deal, and it’ll help people who are used to anything but.

So please go to if you’d like to help. And perhaps I’ll see some of you at the finish line.

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 16:00

The Argentinian is preparing his team for a crucial clash with PSV in the Champions League

Yesterday, 19:35

A whopping row has broken out over a Stoke Newington minicab firm’s decision to set up a burger van in its car park – yards from a GP surgery.

Yesterday, 14:00

The energetic midfielder has shone for Leyton Orient during the early months of the campaign

Yesterday, 19:32

Sadiq Khan has given the town hall a whopping £45.5million towards the building of 949 new “genuinely affordable” homes.

Yesterday, 18:24

Police were cracking down on the “drugs-related dance craze”, acid house, the Gazette reported 30 years ago.

Yesterday, 17:56

The Gazette let off steam in a rant about youngsters going around asking for a “penny for the guy”.

Yesterday, 16:15

Nightlife campaigners have launched a crowdfunder to raise money for a legal challenge against Hackney Council’s licensing policy, which includes “core” midnight weekend curfews for new venues.

Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists