Then, it was a tweet about the fraud of former Cancer Research UK employee Jill MacRae who had falsely claimed to have created the Race for Life.
This time it was another tweet about MacRae, this one questioning whether someone with her history of unrepentant lying is a suitable person to be working with young people.
Given Cancer Research UK’s 25 years of dishonesty about the creation of Race for Life, it seems bizarre that they ‘like’ either tweet.
If they like the tweets because they find the dishonesty of MacRae as appalling as us, then perhaps they should look in the mirror and question their own long standing issues with facing up to and accepting the truth.
Perhaps they liked the first one because it exposes a fraud? But then, they could put the record straight on that fraud but choose not to.
Did they like the more recent tweet because they agree that unrepentant liars should not be working with and influencing young people? But surely, their own record of avoiding truth is no better than MacRae’s? Some may say worse.
It would seem that the only reason they like the tweets is because they like MacRae and her dishonesty. After all, their own record of avoiding truth is worse than MacRae’s as, through their silence, they turn a blind eye to, and help to cover up, MacRae’s history of fraud and dishonesty.
Despite the overwhelming evidence proving that Jim Cowan created the Race for Life, they prefer silence. They prefer a public display of low integrity over doing the right thing and admitting they got it wrong, over admitting they were duped by the lies that Jill MacRae told.
We won’t be holding our breath waiting for an answer as to why they now like these tweets. Cancer Research UK have already demonstrated that their sole tactic on addressing the truth about the Race for Life is to ignore facts and continue the cover up. And it doesn’t take a genius to work out why that is; because anything they could say will only incriminate them further, will only further expose the lies that they have supported and repeated.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!
It has been said that the truth is consistent. It has no need to keep changing its story because it has no need to. It is the truth.
By contrast, lies often change over time. Details are difficult to recall when they are made up and variations to a story, and details therein, expose it for the fiction it is.
In the Race for Truth, it is Jim Cowan versus Cancer Research UK. Who do you believe is speaking the truth about the creation of the Race for Life?
Created the Race for Life in 1993 following his own father’s cancer diagnosis.
Launched the Race for Life in 1994 in Battersea Park in London.
Had the Race for Life stolen by Cancer Research UK employee Jill MacRae (nee Baker) in the winter of 1994/95.
His story has never wavered. His facts have never changed. His position is supported by documentary evidence and by witnesses.
Cancer Research UK.
In 1993, the Event Manager at Imperial Cancer Research UK (CRUK’s former name), Jill Macrae (nee Baker), wrote to Jim saying she was looking forward to meeting him to discuss his proposal.
In 1994, Jill MacRae confirmed in writing on Imperial Cancer Research Fund letterhead about the Race for Life; “Mr Cowan came to us with the original idea.”
In at Athletics Weekly article in 2000, Cancer Research UK’s Louise Holland claimed of the Race for Life, “the concept came from a series of run and walk events in the USA.”
In the same 2000 issue of Athletics Weekly an unnamed CRUK spokesperson claimed the Race for Life, “originated from Walk for a Cure.”
In the Glasgow Herald in September 2000 an unnamed CRUK spokesperson changed the story again to claim it; “originated from Race for the Cure.”
An OnRec article in March 2005 reported that Louise Holland had been awarded Motivator of the Year. She now claimed to have, “led and taken forward the Race for Life since it started in 1984.” (Note: It didn’t actually launch until 1994).
In 2008, Nottingham Trent University graduate Louise Holland was awarded with that university’s Alumnus of the Year Award although, strangely, she was now claiming to have taken over the running of the event in 1995.
In November 2013 Jill MacRae contacted Jim Cowan via letter and social media claiming she had never heard of him and that she was the originator of the Race for Life. Later that month she contacted him again repeating her (false) claim.
Also in November 2013 MacRae edited the Race for Life page on Wikipedia claiming the event was created by her and Jane Arnell (a colleague at Imperial Cancer Research Fund at the time).
In December 2013 Jim Cowan responded robustly to MacRae’s correspondence. He never heard from her again and her false claim was removed from her social media profiles.
Also in December 2013, Jim Cowan provided evidence to Wikipedia that he had created the Race for Life. The page was amended accordingly with a link to the evidence (a 1994 letter from Jill MacRae).
In 2016 an undated interview with Jill MacRae was uncovered in Informed Edinburgh. When asked, “can you tell us a random fact about yourself?” her reply was, “I created the Race for Life and organised the very first event way back in 1993.” (Note: It was not launched until 1994. You would expect the person who created the event to know that).
In the same interview with Informed Edinburgh, MacRae was asked, “describe yourself in three words,” to which she replied, “creative, inquisitive, determined.” She has certainly demonstrated her creativity with her false Race for Life claims.
In 2017, Cancer Research UK officially stopped citing any origin or creator for the Race for Life, instead adopted a stance of, “not publicly crediting anyone.” (Note: “publicly”).
Despite this, in 2018, CRUK National Events Manager, Annette Quarry, cited yet another origin for the Race for Life, this time “the original pilot was from the American Cancer Society.”
In 2019, CRUK overruled Quarry stating (again) they “do not credit anyone.”
In 2020, following an ‘internal inquiry’ CRUK’s Simon Ledsham claimed to have, “exhausted all reasonable lines of enquiry” and to have been, “unable to find any solid evidence which supports Jim Cowan’s claim to be the sole originator of Race for Life.” An inquiry which actually ignored solid evidence and did not talk to witnesses. An inquiry which CRUK refuse to open to public scrutiny. We can only wonder as to why that might be?
Since 1993 has stuck to a single story, one supported by documents, by witnesses, by facts.
Cancer Research UK.
Ever changing stories, ignoring clearly false claims by former and current employees, hiding behind an ‘acknowledge no one’ line, providing no evidence, no witnesses, and refusing to allow public examination of their so-called inquiry.
In the Race for Truth, it is Jim Cowan versus Cancer Research UK. We know who we believe. What about you?
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
MacRae’s new job involves working with young people on ‘mindfulness’ and the question has to be asked whether it is appropriate for a proven liar, someone who fraudulently made claims on her CV, to be working with young people?
MacRae is not someone who made a mistake in her past, has recanted, apologised, and is rehabilitated. No. MacRae is someone who knowingly stole and lied, built a career on the back of that lie, and who has never recanted, has never apologised, has never put right her wrong.
You could be forgiven for thinking she does not regret her past misdemeanours, that she sees little or nothing wrong with what she did.
And that begs the question; should such a person be working with young people on ‘mindfulness’?
MacRae is working as a yoga instructor at the charity, Cultivating Mindfulness. The charity works free of charge with young people between the ages of 12 and 23.
The Cultivating Mindfulness website states that they aim to “make wellbeing programmes that nourish the whole person.”
Their vision (sic) states; “We are devoted to helping our communities to work together to help each other thrive and flourish. Our mindfulness, meditation and wellbeing programmes and activities aim to support people to learn new ways of being to live happier, healthier and more meaningful lives. Our goals include creating more mindful and compassionate communities and to celebrate the spirit of giving to inspire others to be kinder.”
Does MacRae’s history of unrepentant dishonesty and the effect that had on the Race for Life’s actual creator, Jim Cowan, sound like ‘celebrating the spirit of giving to inspire others to be kinder’ to you?
No. Not to us either.
And MacRae’s profile on the website states; “Jill explores how nature and the changing seasons can influence not only how we practice yoga but how we live our lives, inspiring us to live each moment more mindfully.”
Let us repeat that last bit; “…inspiring us to live each moment more mindfully.”
How exactly? By stealing the ideas of others, by cheating people of their due recognition, by building careers built on lies? And by being totally unrepentant about the whole thing?
Perhaps MacRae could start inspiring young people to live each moment more mindfully by demonstrating some of what she preaches. She could admit her lies, apologise and ensure that she supports our campaign to get Jim Cowan the recognition he truly deserves for his incredible creation.
Until she does, maybe it would be unwise to have her involved in any sort of work where young people might consider her a role model, a teacher of values.
Until then, in the Race 4 Truth, Jill MacRae will always be lagging behind.
For anyone who has been following the Race 4 Truth, it will not come as news that Cancer Research UK has buried its head in the sand when it comes to acknowledging the truth about the origins of the Race for Life.
Despite all of the evidence proving that Jim Cowan created the event, they prefer silence. They prefer a public display of low integrity over doing the right thing and admitting they got it wrong, over admitting they were duped by the lies of Jill MacRae, a former employee.
Race 4 Truth recently tweeted a photograph of MacRae with the text; “The face of a fraudster. Read how Cancer Research UK employee Jill MacRae repeated her fraudulent claim of creating the Race for Life in an interview with the website Informed Edinburgh.” The tweet included a link to the article (which can be read here).
Surprisingly, and somewhat bizarrely, the Race for Life decided to like our tweet.
We can only wonder at what it was they liked?
Possibly they liked the tweet in recognition of their former employees dishonesty and subsequent lies? Possibly they liked the suggestion that MacRae’s false claim is fraudulent given she undoubtedly used it on her CV to gain paid employment? Possibly they actually like the way they have treated Jim Cowan as a consequence of MacRae’s lies and their own refusal to recognise the facts?
We won’t be holding our breath waiting for an answer. Cancer Research UK have already demonstrated that their sole tactic on addressing the truth about the Race for Life is to stay silent, head buried in the sand, hoping the facts will go away and leave them alone. And it doesn’t take a genius to work out why that is; because anything they could say will only incriminate them further, will only further expose the lies.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!
While Race 4 Truth has issue with the organisation’s leadership, we feel for those members of staff affected by these cuts and send our best wishes to them all, together with our hopes that they all find new roles at organisations (hopefully with more integrity) very soon.
And wouldn’t now be a good time to have someone like Jim Cowan, someone with the ability to create such a new, groundbreaking, fundraising event on your side instead of having deliberately lied about, ignored and alienated him over so many years?
In the Race For Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!
Early in 1993, John Cowan was diagnosed with the Prostate Cancer which would eventually take his life. The diagnosis motivated John’s son, Jim, to create a fundraising event to support the fight against cancer.
Through the summer of 1993, he researched what events already existed and searched for a ‘gap in the market’ – a gap big enough that it could be fully exploited to raise significant funds and increase awareness.
Although his starting point was his father’s Prostate Cancer, he ended up creating an event which raised funds for, and raised awareness of, women’s cancers. That event was to be called ‘The Race For Life.’
Jim had already organised a number of different fundraising events for good causes and also organised some road running events.
Using the road running events as a starting point, he identified that women were seriously underrepresented in running events, often with fewer than 15% of fields. It occurred to him that, surely, more women must want to run these events but, for some reason, weren’t, So, he decided to discover why not?
He found three key things were preventing women from taking part in road running: 1. The distances were generally considered too long. At the time most events were 5 miles and further. 5km road events were few and far between, 5000m being seen more as a track athlete’s event.
2. The events that were available were not viewed as ‘female friendly.’ The general atmosphere was very male dominated and, it was felt, unwelcoming for women.
3. Existing races were overly competitive, very serious and, put simply, just not fun.
Jim realised that, providing a solution to these issues would combine very well with his desire to create a new fundraising event to support the fight against cancer. That solution was to create a series of 5km runs, open only to women, which focused on fun not on competition. He called his idea, ‘The Race For Life.’
Initially, Jim took his idea to a breast cancer charity which, following consideration, declined the idea having decided it would not work. Then a conversation with a friend at his local athletic club opened the door to making an approach to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF – Cancer Research UK’s former name). That friend was about to start temping at the charity and promised to find a contact name for Jim to approach.
This she did, and on 5th October 1993 Jim wrote to ICRF’s Events Manager, Jill MacRae (nee Baker), outlining his idea. A meeting was arranged, which then led to Jim organising the very first Race for Life in Battersea Park in 1994.
It is time for Cancer Research UK to do the right thing, stop the lies, and recognise Jim for his amazing creation, one which has benefitted the charity by many hundreds of millions of pounds, opened up running to women, and which changed the fundraising landscape in the UK forever. And, one which should be a fitting tribute from a son to his deceased father.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK is lagging behind.
Below, a copy of Jim’s original letter proposing the Race for Life to ICRF/CRUK.
It is a question we have been asked several times since launching the Race 4 Truth; “why don’t Cancer Research UK sue you?”
The answer, as CRUK are no doubt very aware, is a simple one.
You can’t sue someone for telling the truth. You can’t sue someone for reporting facts.
No, Cancer Research UK choose instead to stay silent. What else can they do without further incriminating themselves? Without exposing more hypocrisy? Without making up more stories about the Race for Life’s history?
Well, there is one thing they could do. Finally tell the truth. But we’re not holding our breath waiting for that to happen.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
One of the themes which keeps recurring when looking at the behaviours of those who lead Cancer Research UK is that of hypocrisy. At times that hypocrisy is so subtle it could be overlooked by those not aware of the facts of the charity’s treatment of Jim Cowan, the man who created the Race for Life. And we can only wonder at what further hypocrisy they may be displaying in other areas we have less information about.
When the current Chief Executive, Michelle Mitchell, assumed her role a little over a year ago she was taking the reigns of an organisation where hypocrisy was already embedded as standard and acceptable behaviour by those at the top. We were hopeful that a new broom might bring more integrity and address the issue. Far from it. In fact, Mitchell has taken CRUK’s hypocrisy to new levels, and always delivered with a straight face and with no thought for the impact it has on others.
In 2018 we shared articles addressing CRUK’s institutional hypocrisy. We wondered at their then CEO, Sir Harpal Kumar, and his hypocrisy in steadfastly refusing to recognise (or even acknowledge) Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life while happily accepting recognition for his own work and achievements. Textbook hypocrisy.
We looked at the issue of hypocrisy across the charity and asked whether CRUK is the home of charity sector hypocrisy? And we looked at the charity’s Chairman, and its committees and Board of Trustees and exposed yet more examples of glaring hypocrisy.
So when CRUK announced that Michelle Mitchell would be succeeding Kumar we took the announcement with some optimism that a new leader might prove to be the turning point. That the charity might rediscover integrity and honesty and cease its hypocrisy.
It didn’t take long to discover that optimism was misplaced. Whether Mitchell brought her own hypocrisy with her or whether she just got consumed by CRUK’s institutional hypocrisy we don’t know. We do know that she has taken that hypocrisy to new levels.
On 20th January this year Mitchell tweeted, “A very important reminder today, and every day. Mental health matters, and mental health problems can be devastating. It’s something I’ve seen up close too many times, and proper support is vital.”
On the surface a positive tweet supporting an important issue. Except, and Mitchell is aware of this, her actions expose her comments as nothing more than PR, as spin. And as hypocrisy.
It is hypocrisy. And it is hypocrisy she is aware of and therefore seemingly cares not a joy about. We know she is aware of it because in October last year when marking World Mental Health Day she also spoke about the importance of addressing mental health issues. We reminded her that neither her nor her organisation cared one jot about Jim Cowan’s mental health when spending 25 years lying about him, when covering up the fraud of their own employee who we have evidenced stole the idea for the Race for Life from Jim. When saying CRUK had never heard of Jim when a prospective employer was checking his CV, thus costing him a job offer. The list goes on. The stress, the pressure, the strain placed on Jim has been enormous. Mitchell’s response? Silence.
Does Mitchell or her organisation care about the possible toll on Jim’s mental health? No. Not a jot. To them mental health is a topic they are selective over, a topic with more value as a PR message than one requiring actions to back up their hollow words.
But hypocrisy demonstrated by her statements on mental health, while inexcusable, probably wouldn’t make Mitchell the charity sector’s biggest hypocrite. No, to award her with that title she would have to have displayed consistent hypocrisy across a range of topics, ably supported by statements from the the organisation she heads.
And, in the short time she has been in post as CEO at Cancer Research UK, we have already highlighted numerous examples of this hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy which comes from the top. It is hypocrisy deeply embedded within the charity’s culture.
27th January 2019: We reported on Mitchell’s tweet where she described as “amazing” meeting Grand Challenge winners. The hypocrisy of recognising some while refusing to recognise others was apparently lost on her.
15th April 2019: We reported how, following correspondence with Mitchell it had become abundantly clear that, while she was/is happy to receive recognition for her own work and achievements (including accepting an OBE), she was going to continue with Cancer Research UK’s policy of refusing to recognise Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life. An example of text book hypocrisy.
4th May 2019: We shared an analysis of correspondence between Jim Cowan and Michelle Mitchell which highlighted the ongoing hypocrisy of both the CEO and the organisation in refusing to recognise Jim Cowan for his amazing creation. The analysis also highlighted how Mitchell’s (delegated) response has failed to address a single issue raised in Jim’s correspondence. Given the importance Mitchell claims to place on collaboration (see 23rd October 2019 below) we can only wonder at her continued desire not to recognise the importance to her organisation of Jim choosing to collaborate with her charity when he created the Race for Life? It is clearly hypocritical and surely any sensible person or organisation would think twice before collaborating with CRUK in future, especially given their willingness to cover up the fraud of their employee who stole the idea from Jim. Textbook hypocrisy but definitely not textbook collaboration.
5th June 2019: To mark Volunteers Week, Cancer Research UK were again busy on social media, busy thanking and recognising their volunteers. This is as it should be but we questioned the sincerity of those thanks given that no such words of thanks, or even recognition has ever been extended to Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life. Hypocritically given thank-yous are not thank-yous at all, merely hollow words.
11th June 2019: We gave Mitchell a new title as Cancer Research UK’s ‘Hypocrite in Chief’ when reporting how, yet again, she was gushing on Twitter about CRUK employees receiving recognition for their achievements in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Again, the hypocrisy of doing so while refusing any recognition to Jim Cowan for his incredible creation seemed to pass her by.
13th June 2019: Again the social media world was awash with posts and tweets from CRUK. This time they were asking people to nominate their Race for Life Hero (or Heroes). With a straight face they asked for nominations in the full knowledge that without Jim Cowan there would be no Race for Life and therefore no Race for Life Heroes. Our supporters rallied around and nominated Jim as their Hero. Sadly theirs were the only posts and tweets responding to the request which received no reply. Mitchell’s organisation once again providing an outstanding example of hypocrisy.
7th August 2019: We questioned the hypocrisy of Cancer Research UK selling pitches to caterers who were selling bacon rolls and other bacon products at 2019 Race for Life venues. Why? This is the same Cancer Research UK, the one led by Mitchell, which warns people that bacon is carcinogenic (cancer causing). We wondered whether they saw the hypocrisy in effectively saying, “Bacon is carcinogenic. It causes cancer. Here, have a bacon roll while we pop to the bank!”
15th August 2019: In an interview in Third Sector magazine, Ed Aspell, CRUK’s Director of Fundraising announced plans to retire at the end of the year. In the interview Aspel revealed that he would love to have come up with “that one, radical, transformational change that is different from the traditional model…” Had he done so, it is very reasonable to assume the charity would have lauded his achievement and praised him with recognition. The very opposite of what they have done with Jim Cowan who came up with just such a game changer when creating the Race for Life in 1993.
17th September 2019: Having tweeted about talking to Cancer Research UK supporters about the charity’s history, we replied to her asking how accurate that history is? After all, we know that her organisation has spent over a quarter of a century trying to rewrite the history of the Race for Life and attempting to erase its creator from its history. What we don’t know is what else the charity claims as its ‘history’ is also made up to fit whatever tale they would rather spin. How anyone could be expected to trust any organisation, let alone a charity, which acts in this way, we are at a loss to explain. The ensuing silence from Mitchell suggests she is too.
23rd October 2019: Addressing the NPC Ignites conference, Mitchell talked at length about the importance of collaboration to the charity sector. We can only wonder at her sincerity given her organisation’s history of stealing ideas from those seeking to collaborate with them. The Race for Life comes to mind. Maybe not sincerity, more hypocrisy. We raised the issue with her but, as per usual, the silence in response was deafening. And it wasn’t a one off oversight on her part. Mitchell has continued voicing her hypocritical line on collaboration since, for example in Civil Society magazine on 26th November.
4th November 2019: After a supporter got in touch to tell us about Mitchell’s hypocritical tweet on 10th October marking World Mental Health Day, we reported the facts, highlighted the hypocrisy, and via Twitter (seemingly her favourite platform for communication) asked Mitchell if she cared to reply? Other than as a tool for PR and spin, mental health is not as important a subject to Mitchell and her organisation as they would like us to believe. Or is it just Jim Cowan’s mental health she cares nothing about? Whichever it is, her hypocrisy is laid bare for all to see.
8th January 2020: Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s Media Relations Officer in Scotland, tweeted that she was “so proud to be a part of this” when retweeting a Race for Life tweet. Given her profile states ‘media with honesty’ we challenged her on whether she would be “applying some of that honesty and recognising the man who created the Race for Life? Or did she support CRUK’s lies for the last 25 years, covering up of fraud, etc. Honesty: words or deeds?” Her response was to hide our tweet. Media with honesty? Or gross hypocrisy? You decide.
12th January 2020: In a repeat of their hypocrisy of 13th June 2019 (see above), the charity headed by Mitchell again asked for nominations for Race for Life Heroes. Race 4 Truth supporters again rallied round and nominated Jim Cowan. Again, they were the only nominations, to date, to be ignored.
20th January 2020: As reported above, Mitchell again used the issue of mental health for PR and spin purposes. At least we assume it to be PR and spin because, surely, if she really took the issue seriously she would give far greater consideration to Jim Cowan’s mental health given her charity’s shocking treatment of him.
It is quite a year (and a bit) Mitchell has had in her new role. It is far from easy to reach, let alone sustain, such levels of hypocrisy. That hypocrisy has, under her leadership, reached new levels and remained deeply embedded in the culture at Cancer Research UK.
We find it hard to believe there can be a more hypocritical CEO in the charity sector, or a charity where hypocrisy is more deeply embedded than at Cancer Research UK. And we can only wonder at the breadth and depth of that hypocrisy given what we have discovered is likely to only scratch the surface given the size of the organisation.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘Hypocrisy’ thus: a situation in which someone pretends to believe something that they do not really believe, or that is the opposite of what they do or say at another time: e.g “There’s one rule for her and another rule for everyone else and it’s sheer hypocrisy.”
Created by Jim Cowan, the Race for Life, is well on its way to raising its first £1 Billion. An astonishing amount.
If that isn’t worthy of recognition, we struggle to figure out what is. And it is in the accepting of recognition for themselves while denying it to others that the hypocrisy of Michelle Mitchell and Cancer Research UK really stands out.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
In yet another bout of hypocrisy, Cancer Research UK are asking people to nominate their Race for Life hero (or heroes).
This is the same organisation which refuses to recognise, let alone thank, the man who created the Race for Life; the man without whom none of the near £1billion it has raised would have been possible. Instead, they are trying to airbrush that man, Jim Cowan, from the event’s history while taking no steps to distance themselves from the fraudulent activities of Jill MacRae, the employee who faked creating the event herself.
Why not help us to speak against this hypocrisy, this lack of integrity; why not nominate Jim Cowan as your Race for Life hero; why not nominate the person without whom none of it would have happened?
To nominate Jim email your nomination and reason for nominating to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Journalist Sonia Poulter asks, quite reasonably, “Jim Cowan created the phenomenally successful charity fundraiser, The Race for Life to honour his father who died with cancer. Why have Cancer Research UK erased Jim from history?”
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind!