Cops on the run for St Albans half marathon

PCSO David Gatta, PS Karen Lewis, Sydney Townsend and PCSO Wendy Martin who are running the St Alban

PCSO David Gatta, PS Karen Lewis, Sydney Townsend and PCSO Wendy Martin who are running the St Albans half marathon in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust - Credit: Archant

A POLICE officer who was formerly a heavy smoker and only started running a year ago has been busy training for this Sunday’s St Albans Half Marathon.

Among the more than 6,000 participants in the race are six police officers from the St Albans district who will be pounding the streets to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust during the 32nd annual charity event.

A spokeswoman for Herts Police said that with one of the team a heavy smoker who once smoked 20 cigarettes a day and had never attempted running until last May, it would be “no easy feat” completing the 13-mile challenge.

Four runners are from the St Albans Neighbourhood Team – Sergeant Karen Lewis and Police Community Support Officers Wendy Martin, David Gatta and Kelvin Mackenzie.

Also in the district’s police team are London Colney Neighbourhood Sergeant Sophia Pidgeon and Detective Constable Stuart Alexander from the Local Crime Unit.

Sergeant Lewis said that officers decided to support the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as it was “something close to our hearts”.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus. There is no cure for the life-threatening condition but treatment can help prevent or reduce long-term damage caused by infections.

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It affects thousands of people including 13-year-old Sydney Townsend, who has several relatives working with Herts Police.

Her aunty, Sonja Townsend, said that work carried out by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust “keeps us hopeful every day that things could get better for our Sydney.”

Sergeant Lewis said: “We are doing this for a great cause so please pledge your donations and feel free to come and support us on the day.”

The trust funds research and development of vital therapies, treatments and medicines in an effort to extend the lives of cystic fibrosis sufferers.

For further information see

To support the officers, please go to

n For the first time in the history of the St Albans Half Marathon, both the half marathon and 5K race have sold out.

n A spokeswoman for the event said that 3,500 people will compete in the half marathon; over 300 in the 5K race; 335 in the walking half marathon and 2,000 youngsters in the children’s fun run. The half marathon is supported by the Herts Advertiser as media partner.

n Entries for the event, being held at Verulamium Park, closed on Tuesday. The walking half marathon starts at 8.20am, while the fun run begins at 10.20am.

n For more information see