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UM’s London Marathon team raises thousands for Starlight

Posted on 17 October, 2022

A team from United Molasses Group has raised over £35,000 for a charity that provides vital support to children diagnosed with a serious illness.

Running on behalf of Starlight Children’s Foundation were Shaun Smith [UM Group Finance], Mark Few and Simon Markham [Molasses GB], Nigel Jones [Head of Technical & Quality], Jamie Marshall [UM Terminals, Hull East] and UM customer Henry Eastick from Ragus, the sugars and syrups specialist.

In total, £18,279 was raised via the runners’ JustGiving page with a further £17,279 being donated in match-funding by our generous shareholders, W&R Barnett Ltd, giving a final amount raised of £35,558.

The team of six were a mix of experienced and less experienced runners, but all committed themselves to gruelling training regimes to ensure they were ready for the prestigious event on Sunday, October 2.

Shaun said: “I was a lapsed runner doing a full marathon for the first time. My main challenge was foot soreness the day after long runs which has been unbelievable at times.

“I signed up for the unique experience. The last time I ever ran a fraction of this distance I was yet to sit for my ‘O’ levels and don’t think it is normal to take up marathon running at this stage of my athletics career.

“Signing up is the easy part, the reality of the training is another. One interesting thing I have experienced is the amazed expressions when people realise how I have been training, expecting a paramedic needing to be in close attendance, but seeing that I can actually run and possibly even make it.”

Jamie, who was also undertaking his first London Marathon, said the main challenge was fitting in the training alongside family responsibilities such as children’s rugby and football.

He said: “I signed up after a few beers when I was at a UM induction meal and couldn’t say ‘no’ the day after as I don’t like going back on my word and it’s for a great charity. The whole day was a great experience.”

Nigel was running his second marathon and training did not go as well as the first-time round.

He commented: “I think many people probably faced similar challenges during the training which for me included Covid (I managed to pull a chest muscle with the coughing that virtually stopped me running for 2-3 weeks), extreme heat during the summer and the numerous niggles that you pick up with running such high mileage!

“It was all worth it to be part of the UM Team in support of the fantastic charity Starlight.”

Mark was also undertaking his first marathon and needed help from an unlikely source to step up his training in advance of the race.

He said: “After a rather slow start to my training and a stiff talking too from my marathon running mother-in-law, I followed a training plan for the last 3 months.

“There were lows during training such as cramp, dehydration and bleeding nipples, but there were also the highs of completing my first half marathon and taking part in 5K park fun runs locally.”

The UM team was also delighted to be joined by long-term customer Henry Eastick, an experienced runner but his first time taking on a marathon.

Henry said: “The opportunity to run alongside UM for Starlight Children’s Foundation was an offer I couldn’t refuse!”

The team’s finishing times were as follows:

Henry Eastick - 3 hours 51 mins

Nigel Jones - 4 hours 14 mins

Simon Markham - 4 hours 35 mins

Jamie Marshall - 4 hours 35 mins

Mark Few - 5 hours 38 mins

Shaun Smith - 6 hours 24 mins

For over 30 years, Starlight has enabled children and families to find hope through the power of play after a child is diagnosed with a serious illness.

Last year, the charity reached 1.2 million children in almost 500 hospitals across the UK.

Ben Macer, CEO of UM Group, said: “I am incredibly proud of the UM team for rising to the immense challenge of the London Marathon and raising so much money for such a worthwhile cause.”

For more information about Starlight, visit

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