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Chariots of Fire - Kings Parade

Chariots of Fire

This year will see the region's longest running fundraising event raise money for the Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Teams of six runners, each run a 1.6 mile course in relay format following the unique and picturesque route starting and finishing at Queens' Green and covering the city centre, Trinity College, Clare College, King's College and crossing the River Cam.

The charity race follows in the heroic footsteps of the famous film “Chariots of Fire”. The film tells the story of Harold Abrahams, a Cambridge runner, and his bid to win a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics. It includes the iconic scene of the race around Trinity College Great Court.

The first charity race took place in 1992 and was the initial idea of Bill Matthews, Race Director for many years, who joined the committee of a local charity and was looking for fundraising ideas. Watching the famous film re-kindled memories of an earlier trip to Olympia in the Peloponnese and he came up with the inspired idea of a local charity fund-raising race in the vein of the Chariots of Fire film.

Although not at Trinity College Great Court, the first race took place in the grounds of the The Perse School. On the day of the race even the persistent rain could not dampen the spirits of the 77 teams whose heroic efforts raised £17,000 for the charity.

The race moved to its current location at Queen’s Green in the town centre the following year to incorporate a scenic route through the streets of the city and Trinity College. In 2007, Kings and Clare colleges added their support to the event and the route now takes in all three colleges.

The event’s Honorary President for many years was Sir Arthur Marshall, a veteran from the 1924 Olympic team whose exploits are celebrated in the film. His son, Sir Michael Marshall, has taken over this role, following Sir Arthur’s death in 2007.

Lord Puttnam, creator of the film “Chariots of Fire,” started the race in 2003 and said;

“I am very proud of the fact that, twenty five years after its production, Chariots of Fire is still proving its value by, among other things, helping to raise money for charities in Cambridgeshire year after year after year. It must have struck a chord for I know of no other film that manages to evoke the same, entirely positive reaction”.

Over the course of its history Chariots of Fire has raised over £1 million for a variety of worthy causes.

Sponsorship for this year’s race will help Alzheimer’s Research UK power a pioneering brain imaging project at the University of Cambridge looking at the brains of people with Down’s Syndrome as more than 50% of those living with Down’s syndrome in the UK go on to develop Alzheimer’s in their 50s. It is hoped that the findings from the study will bring about a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease.

Please help Alzheimer’s Research UK by entering a team and raising sponsorship money.

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

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