For 25 years, Cancer Research UK have lied about Jim Cowan and the creation of the Race for Life. Their lies have cost him the recognition and thanks he so thoroughly deserves and have even cost him a job offer.
Sadly, even though they know the facts, rather than correct 25 years of lies, they have chosen to simply pretend the lies never happened and have assumed a stance which continues to exclude Jim from his rightful place in the event’s history.
The problem with falsehoods, with lies, is that eventually you forget what you claimed and claim something else entirely, catching yourself out. And, of course, you have no evidence to support your fiction because it is just that, fiction. No records of discussions, of meetings, of correspondence. Because they don’t exist.
Indeed, in recent correspondence, Cancer Research UK acknowledged that they have kept no records from the creation and launch of the landmark fundraising event. But, ever keeping their heads in the sand when confronted by facts, they declined Jim Cowan’s offer to meet with them and share copies of documents from 1993 and 1994 which clearly evidence the idea was his and his alone.
But how many lies have been told in that quarter of a century? We have no way of knowing! So, interested in checking out Cancer Research UK’s false claims, Race 4 Truth carried out a little research which has exposed a story which, as such fictions do, keeps changing. There may be more and different claims, but in less than one day’s digging, this is what we uncovered:
In a letter from Jill MacRae, its then National Events Manager, what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) credited Jim Cowan with coming to them with the original idea for the Race for Life. This was the last time they were honest about who created the event.
After severing all ties to Jim Cowan, Jill MacRae started to claim she came up with the Race for Life herself. It would appear that ICRF/CRUK believed her. She went on to build a career on the false, probably fraudulent, claim and is currently the Business Development Manager at Barnardo’s.
In an article in the 19th July issue of Athletics Weekly, an ICRF spokesperson claimed that the Race for Life was based on, “a concept from America called Walk for a Cure.” In the same issue of Athletics Weekly, a letter from Louise Holland, ICRF’s Race for Life Director, stated, “the concept was taken from the Susan Komen Foundation.” They couldn’t even keep their lies consistent for a week
In November of 2013, Jill MacRae contacted Jim Cowan via Linked In and email threatening legal action if he did not stop claiming to have created the Race for Life. Supported by Jane Arnell, Tony Elischer, and Sarah Guthrie (former colleagues of hers at ICRF/CRUK), she claimed they were all “shocked” by Jim’s “misleading claims.” MacRae claimed to have never heard of Jim Cowan and asserted that her colleagues had not either. The 1994 letter from Jill MacRae to Jim Cowan puts the lie to that lie. Over the past year, we have shared more evidence that includes correspondence to and from Jill Macrae to support Jim’s position and which debunks MacRae’s lies.
Also in November of 2013, Jill MacRae amended the Race for Life entry on Wikipedia to state; “Race for Life was created by fundraisers Jill MacRae (nee Baker) and Jane Arnell at what was then the Imperial CancerResearch Fund.” At Jim’s request, supported by evidence, Wikipedia amended the page to show the truth, that the creator of the Race for Life was him.
On 12th December, Jim Cowan responded to Jill MacRae’s threats stating; “To say that I am surprised at both your claims and you accusation would be an understatement. Your cynical duplicity in laying claim to the original idea is preposterous and your accusation that my own claims are untrue is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.”
Jim has not heard from MacRae, or her colleagues, since. Why not, we wonder? Interestingly, MacRae has since removed the false claim from all of her online profiles. We wonder whether she still uses the lie on her CV? That, of course, would be fraud.
Jim Cowan was advised that the website ‘Informed Edinburgh’ had carried an article titled ‘Spotlight on Jill MacRae’ in which she stated; “I created the Race for Life and organised the very first 5K event way back in 1993 (sic), when I was National Events Manager at what is now Cancer Research UK. The article was removed after Jim contacted the website advising them that, “Ms MacRae knows this not to be the case” providing evidence debunking her lie.
In May 2017 , Nicki Ford from Cancer Research UK stated, “We do not publicly credit anyone with originating the event.”
In September 2017, Cancer Research UK’s Chairman, Prof. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, stated, “We do not credit anyone with originating the event.”
It would appear that, unable to prove any of the previous claims Cancer Research UK and, primarily, Jill MacRae had made about the creation of the event (how could they?), the policy was now to simply shut up and claim nothing.
Maybe she didn’t get the memo shared by Ford and Borysiewicz, or maybe it was just time to change the claim again, but in May 2018, Cancer Research UK’s current National Events Manager, Annette Quarry, stated that the original pilot was from yet another different source, this time the American Cancer Society.
We had hoped that Cancer Research UK’s new Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, might take the opportunity to put the record straight and restore some of the charity’s missing integrity. Unfortunately not. Despite Jim’s offer to meet her and provide her with documentary evidence, she ducked responding herself, delegating the task to her Complaints Manager, Graeme McCluskey. He used the excuse that the organisation do not have any internal records of Jim’s involvement with the Race for Life. In place of taking the opportunity to view and discuss evidence, Cancer Research UK have kept their collective heads buried deep in the sand. An opportunity to correct 25 years of lies was passed up; no corrections, no apologies, just very deliberate ignorance of the facts displaying a complete absence of integrity
We now wait with baited breath for the next claim as to the creation of the Race for Life. There are two things we know for sure though:
- While CRUK’s story has kept changing, Jim Cowan’s has remained consistent throughout.
- While CRUK and their various employees (current and former) have offered no supporting evidence for any of their claims, Jim Cowan has. Race 4 Truth will continue sharing that evidence over the coming weeks, months, and years.
Here is another fact for Cancer Research UK; the truth is consistent, it has no need to vary its story in the way that Cancer Research UK’s fiction has. Jim’s truth can be proven. Their lies cannot.
Ask yourself, who do you believe? Jim Cowan or Cancer Research UK?
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!