Running club founder named Harpenden’s most inspirational woman

PUBLISHED: 08:59 12 April 2020

Run Redbourn! founder Rachel Mackie, winner of the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

Run Redbourn! founder Rachel Mackie, winner of the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

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Inspiring women within the Harpenden community were celebrated for their acts of kindness and courage at this year’s #SHEINSPIRES awards.

Professional orchestral flautist Clare Childs, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny BirdProfessional orchestral flautist Clare Childs, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

The winner of the 2020 awards was Rachel Mackie, who was voted as Harpenden’s most inspirational woman.

Over the past year, Rachel set up ‘Run Redbourn!’ which caters for all runners, and now has 514 members. Rachel has also been instrumental in creating the Redbourn mile, which is a marked mile around Redbourn common that encourages people to walk, jog, scoot, or run.

District councillor and former mayor Rosemary Farmer, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny BirdDistrict councillor and former mayor Rosemary Farmer, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the awards took place online on Tuesday, March 31. Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, also recorded his endorsement for the #SHEINSPIRES nominees.

Over 600 people voted, and the awards reached thousands of people virtually.

Textile designer Lorraine Ireland, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny BirdTextile designer Lorraine Ireland, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

On receipt of her #SHEINSPIRES award, Rachel Mackie said: “Meeting this group of extraordinary women has inspired me hugely. I had no idea there were such impressive and motivated women doing so many incredible things in our area.

“Hearing their stories has been a wonderful experience and I’m definitely going to keep in touch with them going forward.”

Jenny Froehlich of The Panama Hat Company, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny BirdJenny Froehlich of The Panama Hat Company, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

Last year’s winner Emily Ketchin, who nominated Rachel for this year’s awards, added: “Rachel is a true inspiration. Not only is she an incredible athlete but has significantly inspired numerous people to take up running.”

The other nominees include Clare Childs, professional orchestral flautist, district councillor and former mayor Rosemary Farmer, Claire Gillies of Delicious and Real, Angela Rake of Zing Wellness, textile designer Lorraine Ireland, and Jenny Froehlich of The Panama Hat Company.

Angela Rake of Zing Wellness, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny BirdAngela Rake of Zing Wellness, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

Penny Bird, organiser of the #SHEINSPIRES event, said : “Congratulations to Rachel. She is so enthusiastic about getting people moving and starting their running journeys, it’s clear that she gets a great deal of pleasure from what she does for the community.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that so many people appreciate hearing these extraordinary women’s stories and that they draw as much inspiration from them as I do. A big thank you to the people who nominated them - every story has been like opening a gift.”

Claire Gillies of Delicious and Real, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny BirdClaire Gillies of Delicious and Real, one of the nominees in the Harpenden #SHEINSPIRES awards. Picture: Penny Bird

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