What was The Sanlam Go Dad Run?

Go Dad Run was a series of 5K and 10K runs for men and boys to raise awareness of and funds for important men's health charities. They were staged in different parts of the UK from 2013-2017.

Go Dad Runs were open to all men and boys of any age, and it was wonderful to see lots of fathers, sons, brothers, partners, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and teammates joining us at so many events.

And, of course, mums, wives, girlfriends and sisters all had a big role to play in getting the men in their lives to sign up and then supporting them on the day!


Why I created Go Dad Run, by Colin Jackson, CBE

Throughout my long athletics career it became second nature for me to listen to my body and regularly check it for illness or break down, but we know that the vast majority of men fail to do this.

Sometimes this is due to embarrassment, often because of a lack of knowledge or even a misplaced macho attitude that resists going to see a doctor!

A few years ago two of my uncles developed prostate cancer and although one responded to treatment and is now fit and well again the other was less fortunate and, sadly, passed away. That prompted me to find out more information about the illness and I was shocked to discover that whilst 1 in 8 men in the UK will develop prostate cancer, that actually rises to 1 in 4 men from an African Caribbean background.

I’d long been inspired by the amazing success of Race For Life and, with my actress sister Suzanne Packer, decided to create an event specifically for men that would raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and just as importantly, help create additional awareness of the condition and that led directly to the creation of Go Dad Run.

Following the success of our inaugural Father's Day 5K in Llangefni in 2013 we staged 3 events in 2014 and 6 in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

And as Go Dad Run evolved we decided to also expand the group of charities we supported with a specific focus on areas that men are often so relunctant to talk or think about and where undiagnosed problems and symptoms can potentially have serious consequences for them in the long run.

Prostate Cancer UK were our lead charity partner but we are very pleased that we've also worked closely with Orchid, who specialise in supporting men with prostate, penile and testicular cancer, Bowel Cancer UK and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

By bringing together dads and sons, brothers and cousins, neighbours, workmates and friends who were willing to get involved in a run and play their part in getting men to think about their minds and bodies we hope that we had a positive effect on their lives and health.

We had some terrific sponsors and partners and Suzanne and I are especially grateful to all at Sanlam UK for their support as our headline sponsor and to our friends at Big Yellow Self Storage, PUMA, Lilly UK, Everyone Active, Sony, TIMEX, the venues, councils, Fix Events and all our great volunteers and supporters as well as the six local charities we worked with in 2017.

A number of factors have meant that Go Dad Run came to an end after the 2017 events, but we are looking forward to announcing a major new health project that has been inspired by the personal stories of the runners and their friends and families.

For me, the most important thing has been to get men of all ages to come together to think about their health and have a great experience with their family and friends as well as raising funds for such an important group of charities and we hope that many of those who took part in Go Dad Run will continue to support them in the future.


The History

Go Dad Run’s supporters who attended the 5K’s or associated events since Colin Jackson founded the project in 2013 have included the following...

Colin’s actress sister Suzanne Packer, a regular cast member of Casualty 2003 - 2015, six time World swimming champion Mark Foster, former England goalkeeper David Seaman, fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel, former World and Olympic 100m champion Donovan Bailey, World Indoor 400m champion and Olympic silver medalist Jamie Baulch, World Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, soul singer Mica Paris, double Olympic Decathlon champion Daley Thompson, double Olympic swimming gold medalist Rebecca Adlington, World 4 x 400m champion Derek Redmond, Royal Ballet soloist Fernando Montano, Sunderland FC legend Kevin Ball, European and Commonwealth Games 200m silver medalist Christian Malcolm, Olympic and World champion 400m hurdler Sally Gunnell, Welsh Rugby Union stars Martyn Williams, Tom Shanklin and Ian Gough, singer-songwriter Dan Olsen, TV presenter Nick Hancock, England, Warwickshire bowler Gladstone Small, Olympic silver medalist diver Leon Taylor, World Indoor 200m champion and World 4 x 400m gold medalist John Regis, Premier League referee Michael Oliver, ITV weather presenter Sian Lloyd and World Indoor 200m gold medalist and Olympic 4 x 100m champion Marlon Devonish.


The first ever Go Dad Run 5K for men and boys aged 16+ took place in Llangefni, Anglesey on Father’s Day June 16th, 2013. The event, which was sponsored by Lilly UK, started and finished at the Ysgol Gyfun school in the town and was organized by Menter Môn, the local enterprise agency. Colin Jackson, Mark Foster, Jamie Baulch and Sian Lloyd were all there to lend support as more than 150 men and boys pulled on their yellow Y fronts and took part in the run around the town.


In 2014 we welcomed a new headline sponsor as the Sanlam Go Dad Run expanded and staged three small events on Father’s Day weekend June 14th and 15th in Crystal Palace Park in London, Bute Park in Cardiff and Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. Boys aged 14+ joined their dads and the men on the courses.

Big Yellow Self Storage and Lilly were our other main sponsors and Mark Foster and Sian Lloyd handed out the medals to the runners as they crossed the finish line in London. Colin Jackson, Jamie Baulch, Christian Malcolm and Suzanne Packer were our ambassadors in Cardiff and Colin also attended the Birmingham event where Derek Redmond joined him to fire the starting gun. The first three in each race were also presented with TIMEX watches.


In 2015 we expanded to six events, changed the runner Y fronts from yellow to blue and reduced the age limit to 11+. In addition to Sanlam, Big Yellow Self Storage and TIMEX we were delighted that PUMA joined our sponsor roster and provided all runners with free t-shirts.

Mark Foster set the runners on their way in Southwark Park, London and Greville Smyth Park, Bristol and Colin went to Llangefni to greet the men and boys before they ran around the town. He was joined by two other world champions, Derek Redmond and Donovan Bailey, at Worcester Racecourse and Suzanne Packer was on hand in Victoria Park Warrington to start the event and present the medals.

Our biggest run took place in Bute Park Cardiff where our ambassadors Sian Lloyd and Jamie Baulch were joined by Welsh rugby legends Martyn Williams and Tom Shanklin.


2016 saw the introduction of 10K runs alongside the 5Ks and we provided a new chip timing service for all registered runners. The age limit was abolished so that boys aged 0-9 could take part for free alongside their dads in the Sanlam Go Dad Run. We also had a very special launch event at the Grange, St Paul's Hotel in London where Colin Jackson interviewed our prostate cancer ambassadors Alfred Samuels and Errol McKellar before leading a special pre-Olympic Q&A with Daley Thompson, Leon Taylor and Jamie Baulch.

Colin had a busy summer and was on hand to start the Go Dad Runs at the Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre in Sunderland with Suzanne Packer, at Ashton Court Estate in Bristol and at Worcester Racecourse where he was joined by Derek Redmond. He was also in Cardiff with Jamie Baulch, Sian Lloyd, Ian Gough and Jamie Baulch to set the runners off in Bute Park.

Mark Foster was once again in Southwark Park where the biggest run took place and our newest ambassador, singer-songwriter Dan Olsen, headed to the Isle of Man for a special Go Dad Run along the promenade in Douglas.


2017 saw Go Dad Run work with a whole series of charities, as well as Prostate Cancer UK. The new partners were Orchid, Bowel Cancer UK, C.A.L.M, Dimbleby Cancer Care, St Benedict's Hospice Sunderland, Martlets Hospice Hove, St Richard's Hospice Worcester, Tenovus Cancer Care and The Big C Norwich.

Mark Foster and Sally Gunnell presented medals to the runners in Hove Park at the new Brighton and Hove event and Mark was joined by Sian Lloyd for the London Go Dad Run which was once again held in Southwark Park. Colin Jackson was the guest starter in Norwich's Eaton Park and he also travelled to Sunderland where Jamie Baulch, Michael Oliver and Kevin Ball were on hand to support the runners at the Silksworth venue. Colin and Jamie also attended the annual showpiece Go Dad Run in Bute Park, Cardiff with Sian and Ian Gough.


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