At the end of this month, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz’s seven year tenure as Chairman of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) will come to an end. The new Chairman, Lord Simon Stevens, will assume the role in October.
Under Leszek Borysiewicz’s stewardship Cancer Research UK maintained a policy of relating fictional accounts of who created the Race for Life before changing to one of acknowledging no one, likely in an attempt to avoid admitting the long history of lies in place of recognising the man who actually did create the event.
That history has been well documented on these pages, a history of lies that has offered zero evidence to support it and is countered by both documentary evidence and witness accounts supporting the fact that Jim Cowan created the Race for Life inspired by his father’s cancer diagnosis.
Also under Borysiewicz’s chairmanship, hypocrisy has been rife. Despite refusing to recognise Jim Cowan’s amazing and ground breaking creation (which has raised over £1 billion for CRUK), he was happy to accept a knighthood in recognition of his own achievements. Also during his time as Chairman the former Chief Executive (Harpal Kumar) displayed similar hypocrisy when accepting a knighthood while current CEO (Michelle Mitchell), already an OBE when assuming the role, continued the hypocrisy by refusing to recognise Jim.
We can only hope that a new Chairman will usher in a new era of honesty, one where integrity matters.
Simon Stevens has already accepted a Peerage in recognition of his numerous achievements. Will he choose to recognise Jim Cowan, or continue the hypocrisy and dishonesty apparently institutionalised at CRUK?
Only time will tell.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
Runner’s World magazine recently celebrated it’s 30th anniversary in the UK and in its 30th Anniversary issue ran a feature on ‘Running Game Changers 1993-2023.’
The article was introduced with the words; “Our running community has gone through some pretty seismic changes in the three decades since Runner’s World arrived in it. Here, we salute 30 key figures who have been instrumental in changing the game.”
And, at number 2 on the list, in amongst famous names such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Paula Radcliffe, and Usain Bolt, Runner’s World listed ‘Jim Cowan, Creator of Race for Life.’
The piece described how, inspired by his own father’s battle with cancer, Jim’s vision changed the running landscape in the UK by opening up the way for the many running charity fundraising events now a feature on the calendar. Along the way it also became Cancer Research UK’s biggest fundraiser securing over £1Billion for the organisation over the thirty years.
While Cancer Research UK continue to deny the fact that Jim created the event, Runner’s World knows the facts. Indeed, before Jim even launched the event, he was talking to Runner’s World about it and, through their then Women’s Running Editor Alison Fletcher, they came onboard as one of the Race for Life’s very first official partners.
While Cancer Research UK clearly lack the moral compass to correct the record and to recognise Jim Cowan as the creator of the Race for Life and that the event is his father’s legacy, the truth is gradually being recognised by more and more people and organisations.
Ask Google, “who created the Race for Life?” The search engine will tell you it was Jim Cowan.
Wikipedia corrected their entry when provided with evidence as to who created the event and now recognise Jim Cowan as that person, inconveniently for Cancer Research UK, also providing a link to a letter from Jill MacRae on Imperial Cancer Research Fund letterhead (CRUK’s former name) clearly stating the fact. MacRae was later exposed as someone who had laid false claim to being the event’s creator after cutting all ties to Jim Cowan.
And now, one of the world’s most prestigious running publications has recognised Jim for his amazing creation, a magazine that would know because they supported Jim when launching the event in 1994.
Cancer Research UK continue to back themselves into a corner and deny what the evidence supports and what is patently clear to a growing number of others; Jim Cowan created the Race for Life.
When will CRUK and its leadership under CEO Michelle Mitchell, rediscover some integrity, some honesty, and admit they got it wrong. By now, they must know the truth making their continued denial little short of a lie. A lie they happily spin to any and all who will listen.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK is 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, originally 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 working 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.
Sadly, John Cowan passed away in November 1993 and never saw the event he inspired come to fruition.
It is time for Cancer Research UK to do the right thing, stop the lies, and recognise Jim for his amazing creation and his father for inspiring him. It is a creation which has benefitted the charity by over £1 Billion, opened up running to women, and which changed the fundraising landscape in the UK forever. And, but for Cancer Research UK’s deception, one which should be a fitting tribute from a son to his deceased father.
Remembering John Francis Cowan.
16th July 1932 – 18th November 1993.
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.
Except, they aren’t. Worse, they know they aren’t. Which means, they know they had no intention of keeping that promise when they made it. And there is a word for that, it is called a lie.
As an example, on Cancer Research UK’s own website, there is no reference as to where the entry fee for the Race for Life goes. We know already that it does not go to research but CRUK won’t tell you that.
On the Race for Life’s ‘About Our Events’ page, at the bottom there is a link to ‘Where Your Money Goes.’ Only, the page does not tell you where your money goes. It tells you what various amounts of money can buy or support but not where your entry fee goes.
Is that being ‘transparent about where your money goes?’
Rather than be honest and state what percentage of your entry fee funds any research (i.e. be transparent about it), they choose not to mention it at all.
Rather than be honest and state what percentage of any money you spend on merchandise funds any research (i.e. be transparent about it), they choose not to mention it at all.
And, rather than be honest and tell you what percentage of money raised through sponsorship funds any research (i.e. be transparent about it), they choose not to mention it at all.
Is that being ‘transparent about where your money goes?’
The truth is that not a penny from your entry fee funds any research, not a penny from merchandise sales funds any research and, despite being pushed, they won’t say what percentage of money raised through sponsorship funds research.
And what of their Race for Life television commercial? Is that ‘transparent about where your money goes?’
Of course not.
There is no mention of where it goes, only the lie by omission and the oft used (but deliberately misleading) claim; ‘sign up today for your local Race for Life event and together we will beat cancer.’
It is a topic we have visited, and revisited, over the years and yet Cancer Research UK show no signs of being honest about where this money does (or, more accurately, does not) go. To use their own term, they show no signs of being ‘transparent’ about where your money goes, despite brazenly promising to do so in their Annual Report.
The only possible conclusion to be drawn is that they are being deliberately dishonest, promising to do something with absolutely no intention of doing it. That fundraising promise is nothing other than a broken promise, a promise the knew they would break as they were making it.
It is just another Cancer Research UK lie in a long history of lies, deceptions, hypocrisy, fraud, and generally poor ethics. And, of course, of broken promises.
Imagine you are a specialist running company and you get the opportunity to become a corporate partner with one of the largest running events in the country.
You’d be a fool to turn that opportunity down, wouldn’t you?
Then, imagine that after signing up you are warned that your new partner is not who they appear to be, not what they claim. You are warned of serious ethical and honesty issues, that the organisation behind the event lacks integrity.
What would you do then?
Runners Need wrote back to the person who had warned them stating that they carefully consider who they associate their brand with, especially when it comes to partnerships. They undertook to review the information they had been given and take any action they felt appropriate to ensure their business, “remains aligned to its core values.”
Only they didn’t. It was lip service. No meaningful review took place.
How do we know this? Because the individual writing to them was Race for Life creator Jim Cowan, and he had advised them that he had evidence to support everything he said about Cancer Research UK should they wish to see it.
But they didn’t ask to see any of it. Their ‘review’ did not include looking at evidence. Seriously?
What does that tell you about those ‘core values’ they claimed to be so keen to remain aligned with?
And, next time you want fair, impartial advice on a pair of running shoes or other kit, what does it tell you about any advice you might receive from Runners Need?
Are they selling you the right pair of shoes for you and your particular running style? Or are they only claiming to do that, while actually selling you the pair which serves their own self-interest most?
Based on their opting to continue their partnership with the Race for Life, based on their deliberately ignoring evidence offered as part of their ‘review’, which do you believe?
Runners Need’s deliberate ignoring of evidence in pursuit of corporate greed tells everything about the ‘core values’ to which they referred. Core values devoid of morals, of honesty, of integrity. Core vales based only in serving self.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK and Runners Need are lagging behind.
No, it is probably not what she meant, but when Cancer Research UK CEO Michelle Mitchell excitedly tweeted on 19th April (see below) that she was on her way to a day of story telling, we couldn’t help thinking how apt it was.
Cancer Research UK and Michelle Mitchell are not shy when it comes to story telling, making claims and other reports across their numerous social media profiles. But, why isn’t anyone questioning how much of what they say is true? After all, an organisation which is quite happy to consistently lie about one thing is highly unlikely to be honest with you about everything else.
And this shouldn’t be news to anyone. They have been telling stories (i.e. lying) to you for over a quarter of a century, both in their current format and in their previous incarnation as the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
Cancer Research UK, its CEO Michelle Mitchell, and many others within the organisation (including its Trustees), are fully aware of that lie, fully aware of the stories they have made up to cover for the lie. They are fully aware that at least one key part of the charity’s history is, literally, made up. And they have told many a story over the last 28 years in order to cover up what they know to be a lie. And that must cast doubt on any other claims they make, tales they tell. For where there is one big lie, there are likely to be others.
Cancer Research UK, and its predecessor the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, have rewritten the history, in other words retold the story, of the Race For Life to exclude Jim Cowan, the person who actually created it, and then spent the next 28 years spreading different fictional versions, story telling about the event’s creation. To be blunt, they have lied. Not once, but repeatedly.
We must therefore pose the question; how can anyone know for sure that they haven’t rewritten other parts of their story, made up other tales they tell? After all, they do like telling stories, Mitchell’s tweet confirms this.
Mitchell might claim that she knows nothing of this rewriting of history, although as CEO she should avail herself of the facts. And, of course, she has had that opportunity but declined it.
In the past the very weak defence was that they had no documentation from the event’s creation.
But that doesn’t hold water. Firstly, without documentation, without evidence, what are the numerous fictional versions they have relayed over the years based on? Secondly, because we have offered (on more than one occasion) to sit down and share documents and witness contacts with Mitchell. Unfortunately, she was not interested. She prefers telling stories to seeing and hearing evidence that clearly proves Jim Cowan created the Race For Life and that Cancer Research UK have peddled nothing more than a series of lies (sorry, stories) over the intervening years.
In short, they know they are not telling the truth but prefer not to correct the lies; they prefer fiction to truth, they prefer story telling. Otherwise, why not sue us? Why not sue Jim Cowan? The answer is simple; you cannot sue someone for telling the truth. And they know that truth would be crystal clear in a court. The evidence supports it.
How can they then talk about Cancer Research UK’s history when, clearly, they don’t even care whether parts of it are even accurate? Worse, they know it is a lie but look the other way, pretend not to know, tell stories. And if one part of the story is told while known to be false, what else among their posts, press releases, claims, and other tales require (politely) closer examination?
Cancer Research UK and its CEO Michelle Mitchell have declined the opportunity to see documentation and to speak to witnesses who can confirm the correct story of the creation of the Race for Life.
They prefer knowingly to tell stories, a series of made up tales which ignore any facts which do not fit their near three decade history of lying. They even claim to have held an inquiry into the origins of the Race for Life but, for some strange reason, don’t want to make it public, to open it to scrutiny. It’s just another story they tell.
Surely, therefore, as well as the truth of any story CRUK tell us, another big question that has implications for the organisation’s future, is that of whether it can be trusted?
With a track record of rewriting history, lies, hypocrisy, turning a blind eye to fraud, low integrity, poor ethics, and absent morals (all evidenced), we certainly would not trust them. But they could very quickly make a start on repairing the damage by recognising Jim Cowan, putting the record straight on their employee fraud, and acknowledging the many wrongs done in the last quarter of a century. It would be a vast improvement on the many stories they have told.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.
NOTE: We should add that we also know that the Race for Life’s creator, Jim Cowan, has offered to sit down with Mitchell and her predecessor as CEO (Harpal Kumar) to share documents, correspondence and witness contacts on more than one occasion. Both Mitchell and Kumar declined or ignored those numerous offers. It appears that accuracy, honesty, and truth; and with them trust, are not high up Cancer Research UK’s list of priorities. They prefer to stick to story telling.
Slimming World claim their business is founded upon principles of trust, honesty and integrity. However, their sponsorship of the Race for Life and reaction after being advised of Cancer Research UK’s treatment of that event’s creator, must bring their claim into doubt.
Cancer Research UK have announced that Slimming World are to join the sponsors of the Race for Life.
On 1st February, upon hearing this news, Jim Cowan (the Race for Life’s creator) wrote to the Board and the Majority Shareholder* of Slimming World in order to raise their awareness of Cancer Research UK’s history of lack of honesty, poor integrity, low morals and complete hypocrisy in the way they have presented the event’s history and in how they have refused to even discuss the matter.
On 8th February, John Pusey, Slimming World’s Head of Corporate Responsibility replied. In that reply Mr Pusey recognised that Jim has “strong opinions” but felt it would be “inappropriate for us to make any comment… relating to those allegations.”
He went on to state that Slimming World “is founded upon principles of trust, honesty and integrity” before adding, “we take care to ensure that all our business relationships are with responsible and reputable organisations.”
We would hope that someone tasked with the role of “Head of Corporate Responsibility” would understand that there is a difference between an opinion and a fact. The difference is, of course, that a fact can be supported by evidence. Given that Slimming World were offered evidence by Jim in his letter, evidence including witnesses and documentation, we have to assume that the ignoring of the evidence, and with it the facts, was a deliberate choice by Slimming World, and the use of the word ‘opinion’ one aimed at falsely creating deniability.
Deliberate ignorance of evidence, of facts, to suit its own ends and cover for a flawed position is something no organisation with honesty and integrity would choose to do. Indeed, once aware of these issues, turning a blind eye and ignoring evidence, in this instance in order to protect personal gain, inarguably displays a lack of honesty, a lack of integrity.
Whether you should trust the integrity of such an organisation is a personal choice. We know that we wouldn’t.
This is the path Slimming World has chosen. Ignore the evidence, pretend facts are just personal opinion, and continue a partnership with an organisation who have repeatedly demonstrated an absence of both honesty and integrity as well as covering up employee fraud and numerous counts of hypocrisy.
Slimming World might claim to have been founded upon principles of trust, honesty and integrity, however the evidence from this exchange of correspondence would suggest that those founding principles no longer apply.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK and Slimming World are lagging behind.
It is reasonable for the public to expect honesty, transparency, integrity and accountability from charities. Unfortunately, in the case of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) you get none of them.
That CRUK happily turned a blind eye to the fraud of their then employee Jill MacRae has been a matter of record for some time.
MacRae infamously claimed to be the creator of the Race for Life after stealing the event from its real inventor, Jim Cowan. So brazen was she that she even threatened Cowan with legal action if he did not desist from his own, honest, claim. But he stood firm and MacRae, now with Barnardo’s, backed down and removed all such claims from her social media.
However, by including this false claim on her CV, she committed an act of fraud, an act supported by CRUK who happily provided references to that effect. Indeed, historically CRUK recognised MacRae as the event’s creator, a falsehood they have never corrected.
Initially they supported MacRae’s dishonesty and fraud, then they cited a series of other origins for the event before, eventually, rather than show integrity and admit they had been wrong, they adopted a line of ‘no one person was responsible for creating the event.’ This, despite all evidence clearly showing Cowan did create the event. And, in not correcting the lies, in continuing to deny Cowan any recognition, they display a lack of honesty, a lack of accountability, and a complete absence of integrity.
In fairness to CRUK, those entering the Race for Life who decided to also raise sponsorship might well have contributed to ‘beating cancer’ but that is not what the advertising claimed. And, when challenged, CRUK would not clarify what percentage of funds raised through sponsorship went to actual research, went to actually ‘beating cancer.’
It is a very murky picture. It is a picture of deliberately misleading claims, of outright dishonesty, of an absence of integrity, and a complete lack of transparency and accountability. It is certainly not what the public should expect from a charity.
And this is what we know about. How much dishonesty remains uncovered?
For where there is one lie, there are usually more. And when an organisation lies with so much ease and such frequency it is usually because dishonesty is so deeply embedded within its culture.
IN THE RACE FOR TRUTH, CANCER RESEARCH UK ARE LAGGING BEHIND
Cancer Research UK Chief Executive Michelle Mitchell has laughably Tweeted about the importance of striking a deal for the UK to remain a member of Horizon Europe, the EU’s Research & Innovation Programme.
Well, in her Tweet Mitchell states; “lack of participation would be a significant blow to science and cancer research in the UK and weaken our position to collaborate.”
But the question must be posed; why would anyone trust Mitchell and the organisation she heads enough to collaborate with them?
Because Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are the organisation Jim Cowan took his amazing idea (the Race for Life) to with the intention of organising it and CRUK benefitting. You know, a collaboration.
However, instead of collaborating with Jim, CRUK employee Jill MacRae stole the idea before fraudulently claiming it as her own. The silence of subsequent Chief Executives Harpal Kumar and Michelle Mitchell, as well as Chairman Leszek Borysiewicz, despite being fully informed on the matter, exposes CRUK as an organisation which will steal ideas from those it is pretending to collaborate with, cover up the theft, support fraud, all without giving it a second thought, and without any sign of integrity or moral compass.
Yes Ms Mitchell, remaining members of Horizon Europe would undoubtedly benefit the UK. But, fully informed, who in their right mind would collaborate with you?
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.