Monthly Archives: June 2018


On 19th June we published an article which asked; “were false claims about who created the Race for Life fraud?

In the article we provided evidence and outlined how Jill MacRae, a former Cancer Research UK employee, had blatantly lied, claiming to have created the Race for Life. We exposed how she had previously acknowledged Jim Cowan as the creator of the event, stating he had “come to us with the original idea.”

MacRae had gone on to build a successful career on the back of her false claim, including high profile roles with other charities such as British Lung Foundation, National Autistic Society, Visibility and, currently, Barnardo’s. We questioned whether including the blatant misrepresentation of her past on her CV might be fraud?

Jill MacRae

Incredibly, MacRae had even contacted Jim Cowan insisting he stop laying claim to her idea! Jim’s response is reproduced in the article and left MacRae in no doubt it was her who should desist.

While we can’t see or hear what she still claims in private, or on her CV, we do know that she did remove her claim from social media, including her Linked In account.


Unfortunately for MacRae, the internet has a long memory and a Race 4 Truth supporter spotted an article on her in which she made her false claim and forwarded a screen grab to us.

The article is a feature on MacRae on the website, ‘Informed Edinburgh’ in their series of ‘Spotlight On’ features. Comments in the article suggest it probably dates from between 2008 to 2011 when MacRae was running a company called Blether Media.

In the article, MacRae is asked; “can you tell me a random fact about yourself?”

Her reply: “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.”

And it is a blatant lie.

The truth, as MacRae well knows, is that Jim Cowan created the event in 1993 after his father was diagnosed with cancer. He took that idea to MacRae at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK), and he organised the first Race for Life in 1994 (not in 1993 as MacRae suggests).

And Cancer Research UK know the truth, they just choose to tell different stories.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

If you come across any articles featuring MacRae and her false claims, or anyone else, please forward them to Race 4 Truth so we can expose them. Should you require it (for example if you work with Cancer Research UK or one of the organisations MacRae has since worked with), your anonymity is safe with us. You can contact us here.


Cancer Research UK have announced a new Chief Executive to replace Sir Harpal Kumar, who is stepping down this summer.


Michelle Mitchell OBE has been CEO of the MS Society since 2013. Under her leadership, there has been a 40% increase in access to effective MS treatments and she has developed a £100m research fundraising appeal.

Before joining the MS Society, Mitchell’s previous leadership roles were as Director General of Age UK and Chair of the Fawcett Society. She is also a non-executive director of NHS England, and has been a trustee of The King’s Fund and the Power to Change Trust.

Mitchell has a BA in Economics, an MA in Politics and Administration and an International Executive Diploma from INSEAD. Michelle is an alumna of the Innovations in Government Programme at Harvard University JFK School and of the Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management programme at Harvard Business School.

Here at Race 4 Truth we would like to offer our congratulations to the incoming CEO on assuming what will be a very challenging role.

Not least among the challenges she faces are tackling the the charity’s lack of transparency, low integrity, and the hypocrisy of its leadership over recent years. As an OBE, we know she is willing to accept recognition for her exceptional achievements, we hope she will she be more prepared to also recognise the achievements of others than the outgoing CEO who has been criticised for accepting recognition while not affording it to others.


By 2013 Jim Cowan was used to seeing and hearing misinformation and untruths from Cancer Research UK about who created the Race for Life. But what happened in November of that year, even with his near 20 year experience of the origins of the event he created being lied about, took Jim by surprise and raised questions as to where the original lie began.


6th November 2013 started as a normal working day for Jim Cowan but that changed when shortly after lunch he received both an email and a Linked In message from Jill MacRae. Jim knew MacRae as she was the Cancer Research UK (then called Imperial Cancer Research Fund, or ICRF) employee to who he had taken the original idea for the Race for Life back in 1993.

What surprised Jim was that MacRae was claiming to have come up with the idea herself and also claimed that she did not recall ever meeting him, going as far as saying she was contacting former colleagues at ICRF to see whether they had heard of him. MacRae demanded to know why Jim was telling people he created the event?

Jill MacRae

Initially angered by the bold faced lie, and used to years of a variety of lies, about the origins of the event Jim decided to ignore the email and message, determined that if MacRae were serious she would contact him again repeating her false claim.

Which she did. On 30th November 2013, MacRae again contacted Jim, this time by letter, email, and Facebook Messenger. MacRae wrote:

“Your claim for ‘coming up with the original idea for, designing and launching the UK’s largest women’s participation event, the Race for Life’ is untrue. I have been in contact with the fundraising team that was in place at Imperial Cancer Research Fund when Race for Life was created and launched, to secure their support in setting the record straight. Tony Elischer, who was the Head of Fundraising, Jane Arnell, who was the Director of Fundraising Development, and Sarah Guthrie, who was my fellow fundraising manager, are all as shocked as I am by your misleading claims. They are copied into this email.”

MacRae went on to demand that Jim remove his “misleading references” and to “refrain from misrepresenting your role going forward.”

We can only assume that MacRae thought Jim had not kept any records from 1993 and that, with the backing of her former colleagues, she could continue to falsely lay claim to being the creator of the event. That support was underlined when Jane Arnell replied to everyone copied into the email with the comment, “brilliant keep us posted (sic).”

Jim was also made aware that MacRae had edited the Wikipedia page for the Race for Life, removing his name and replacing it with the false claim, “Race for Life was created by fundraisers Jill MacRae (nee Baker) and Jane Arnell at what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.”

Confident he could evidence the idea as his own, Jim decided on a forthright response to MacRae’s claims, sent by email and post, making it clear that should she pursue her false claim, he would defend himself vigorously:

“To say I am surprised at both your claims and your 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.

Not only did I come up with the original idea for the Race for Life, you have previously acknowledged your excitement at my idea when replying to my original letter proposing the Race for Life and confirmed the fact that the original idea was mine, in writing.

Suggesting to others that I am lying about these facts is defamation of my character. It also appears that at some stage you made a conscious decision to claim the idea as your own, whether by misleading your colleagues at the ICRF or with their collusion is unclear.

You should be advised that should you continue to make false accusations against or about me and which may lead to personal and/or professional damage I will defend myself and my reputation vigorously.”

Jim copied his response to MacRae’s former colleagues to ensure they were also aware of his stance and ensured that the Wikipedia page was corrected, providing evidence when requested in the form of a letter from MacRae herself confirming the original idea was his.

What happened next?


Jim hasn’t heard from MacRae since although it is interesting to note that she removed any reference to the Race for Life from her Linked In page following Jim’s letter. Whether Arnell thought Jim’s honest and factual reply was as “brilliant” as MacRae’s false claims, we don’t know because Jim hasn’t heard from her since either.

But what of fraud?

It is reasonable to assume that MacRae began claiming the Race for Life as her own creation not long after Jim first took it to ICRF. It would explain why she cut all ties to him in 1995 and might explain why, initially, ICRF/CRUK did not recognise Jim as the creator of the event, mistakenly believing their own employee. It would also be reasonable to assume that she would include such a huge success on her CV begging the question as to whether her ensuing career was built on that lie, a lie told to prospective employers in order to secure paid employment? We will leave it to the legal minds as to whether that is fraudulent but feel the question must be asked.

And while MacRae’s lies might have initially led to her then employer at Cancer Research UK not recognising Jim as the Race for Life’s creator, that is no longer an excuse as they have had plenty of time in the intervening years to view and assess the evidence.

Further reading:
Correspondence from Imperial Cancer Research Fund Confirms The Original Idea Was Jim Cowan’s
If Not Jim Cowan, Who Do Cancer Research UK Credit With Creating The Race For Life?
The Race For Life Was Jim Cowan’s Original Idea, As His 1993 Proposal Letter Proves
Yet Another Letter From CRUK’s Jill MacRae Confirms Jim Cowan As Creator Of The Race For Life



Something heavy “hit” me today, Father’s Day, as I read the following post that Jim Cowan shared with his friends on Facebook (shared here with his permission):

My first, and probably only, real hero.

He taught me right from wrong. He taught me to stand up in the face of adversity. He taught that winning is as much getting up to go again when the odds are against you as it is crossing the line first. He showed me patience and understanding. He gave me enough space to grow and make my own mistakes without letting me stray so far that those mistakes defined me. He gave me my love of Chelsea, of sport, of life. He helped me to appreciate that success can be defined in many ways. He helped me realise that everyone is talented, even if they are yet to find that talent. He instilled in me a willingness to debate, to argue my case but not be afraid to be proved wrong and to accept it with good grace when I am. Through him I learned so much, not least to help those less fortunate than I.

As I get older, I realise that I am him, and he was I.

Twenty five years since he left, he is still in my mind every day, my words and actions every minute, and my heart every time it beats.

“Thank you” seems nowhere near enough for what he gave me.

Happy Father’s Day Dad from your very grateful son.

That “something heavy” was the realisation that in refusing to formally acknowledge Jim Cowan as the originator of the Race for Life, Cancer Research UK are also effectively depriving John Cowan of the legacy his son Jim sought to create in his honour (see that story here: ).  I’m confident everyone at CRUK has a father, mother, parental figure, or mentor they would be proud to memorialise at some point. I ask each and every one of those folks the same question:  How would you feel if your efforts to honour your loved one were denied and invalidated?  If any one of you would want better for yourselves and your parent, I ask you to join us in the Race 4 Truth.

As long as I have known Jim he has shared these sorts of posts about his father on Father’s Day, birthdays, the anniversary of his passing…  today let’s let Jim’s memorial gift to his father John be restored.

I wish a Happy Father’s Day to Dads everywhere.

– Kim at Race 4 Truth


Supporters of the Race 4 Truth will be pleased to hear that we have added a new front to which we are carrying our fight by opening up an Instagram account.

Why not join us there and help the campaign to get Cancer Research UK to recognise Jim Cowan as the creator of the Race for Life?

You’ll find us on Instagram at race4truth

And our other social media is on Facebook at /Race4Truth and on Twitter @race_4_truth

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK is lagging behind!


Hypocrisy (hɪˈpɒk.rɪ.si); 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:

There’s one rule for her and another rule for everyone else and it’s sheer hypocrisy.

(Cambridge English Dictonary).

In the case of Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive, Sir Harpal Kumar, it is one rule for himself and another rule for everyone else. And yes, it is sheer hypocrisy.

In Kumar’s case he is more than happy to accept recognition for his achievements, for example a knighthood in 2016 for services to cancer research.

But when it comes to recognising others, even those whose ideas and creations have contributed heavily to the fundraising of Cancer Research UK, he chooses not to.

Take the example of Jim Cowan who created the Race for Life, an event which has raised in excess of £1/2 Billion for Cancer Research UK. You might think that someone willing to accept recognition for himself would also like to recognise others who have made such a huge difference to the cause he heads?

But no, not Kumar. He’ll accept a knighthood for himself but when it comes to recognising Jim Cowan, after years of his charity lying about where the event originated, and despite plenty of evidence, both he and his charity now say that they “do not credit anyone with originating any of their events.”

When it comes to recognition, Sir Harpal Kumar has one rule for himself and another for everyone else.

And the Cambridge English Dictionary is correct, it is sheer hypocrisy.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.

Join the Race 4 Truth in campaigning for Jim Cowan to receive the recognition he deserves.

Nominate Jim Cowan for a Pride of Britain Award.


One week after we raised the question of how much of the funds raised via sponsorship of runners taking part in the Race for Life goes directly to fund research in cancer, and despite our prompting them for a reply three times during that week, we still await a response.

The absence of any confirmation does not surprise us though. Cancer Research UK have form for not saying things, phrasing things cleverly, and using false stories, in order to create a misleading impression of their events and where money raised through those events goes.

It is a fact that they have spent the best part of a quarter of a century spinning a range of different yarns as to who created the Race for Life and denying any recognition to the person who actually did.

Having been called out on these tales, they now take an official line of “not recognising anyone.” And why tell the truth when simply missing it out fits your agenda better?

For example, why tell people that none of their Race for Life entry fee funds research into cancer? Far better not to mention it at all and leave people with the impression it does through statements such as, “this is beating cancer.” How the entry fee “is beating cancer’ is anyone’s guess when none of it goes to any research. But let’s not tell anyone.

And then, rather than the (deliberate?) omissions, look out also for the cleverly phrased statements, such as the one we are seeking clarification on (so far, without success); the Race for Life website states that sponsorship raised goes to Cancer Research UK leading to questions as to what percentage actually finds its way to funding any research?

For there is a fundamental difference between going to Cancer Research UK and its high earning executives, its expensive central London and regional offices, etc., and actually funding research.

What percentage of the sponsorship, raised and donated in good faith, actually funds research?

In the absence of any reply, study Cancer Research UK’s form and draw your own conclusions.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.


Considering she later claimed that she had come up with the idea for the Race for Life, Cancer Research UK’s former Events Manager Jill MacRae left one hell of a paper trail proving otherwise.

We have already published Jim Cowan’s letter to her proposing his idea, a new event called the Race for Life, and we have also published a letter from MacRae which stated that “Mr Cowan came to us with the original idea…”

Today we share another letter from MacRae. This one follows on from Jim Cowan’s initial proposal and follows a phone conversation between the two of them to arrange a meeting to discuss the idea.

MacRae then wrote to Jim thanking him for his interest in organising an event to benefit the charity and stating that it sounded exciting. So exciting in fact, that she later stole the idea and built a successful career on the back of that lie.

What part MacRae played in Imperial Cancer Research Fund and then Cancer Research UK denying Jim created the event, or even that they have ever heard of him (thus costing him a job), we may never know.

We do know that there is no excuse for continuing with their charade and the time is long overdue for Jim to be rightly credited with his incredible creation.

In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.