Tag Archives: R4T


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: https://race4truth.com/history/ ).  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.


Search the Race for Life website for information on how your entry fee will be spent and any information is difficult to find.

In a previous post we suggested that this may be because Cancer Research UK would prefer you to think some of your entry fee goes to research into cancer rather than share the truth; which is that none of the entry fee funds such research.

And now, in reply to a Race 4 Truth tweet (see below), the Race for Life have been forced to concede that we were correct, not a single penny of the entry fee for the event goes towards research.

We are seeking clarification of the second point their tweet made, stating that all of the money raised by their supporters goes directly to ground breaking and life saving research.

However, again, the Race for Life website carries nothing to support this statement and, historically, they have claimed that sponsorship raised goes to Cancer Research UK leading to questions as to what percentage actually finds its way to funding any research?

When (or if) we receive any clarification on this important matter we will, of course, share it via these pages.

In theRace 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK are lagging behind.


On 10th May, Race 4 Truth supporter Pete Brindle emailed Sir Harpal Kumar, the CEO of Cancer Research UK, to express his disappointment at the charity’s refusal to acknowledge Jim Cowan for creating the Race for Life and, as a result, to notify him that he was withdrawing his support. You can read that email here.

Yesterday (29th May), Pete got in touch to let us know that he has received a reply from Kumar. This is what he wrote:

“Dear Mr Brindle,

My apologies for the delay in responding to your email advising us that you are cancelling your regular donation to Cancer Research UK. I’m sorry that you feel this way but pleased that a smaller charity in the same sector will now benefit from your support.

You are quite right that our Race 4 Life event series is significant in both its popularity with our supporters and in the funds raised over the years towards our research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. However, we do not credit anyone with originating any of our events, but choose instead to focus on making them as successful as possible to fund our life-saving work.

Unfortunately, I am unable to comment specifically about the content of your email concerning Mr Cowan’s involvement, as this is a personal matter between Cancer Research UK and Mr Cowan.

Thank you for the support you have provided to Cancer Research UK to date. It is very much appreciated.

Kind regards

Harpal Kumar

Sir Harpal S Kumar

Chief Executive Officer,

Cancer Research UK”

While we thank Kumar for taking the time to reply to Pete, his response, while disappointing, is not unexpected.

On 18th May, we reported how many different versions Cancer Research UK had for who created the Race for Life (and those were just the ones we could trace).

After years of (not unsurprisingly given they were not telling the truth) being unable to tell a consistent story, we reported that they now appeared to have a policy of reporting that they, “do not credit anyone with originating the event.” That policy has been their consistent line since last year; barring one new (and false) claim from their National Events Manager Annette Quarry earlier this month.

Quarry’s claim aside, after years of being unable to tell a consistent story, it appears Cancer Research UK have decided on a policy of acknowledging no one, over one of giving credit where it is due. But then, giving credit where it is due would mean acknowledging the falsehoods they shared in the past.

We also note the comment that this, “is a personal matter between Cancer Research UK and Mr Cowan.”

They are right. It is VERY personal. Especially when Cancer Research UK are costing Mr Cowan jobs by denying they have ever heard of him, thus bringing his (honest) CV into question. Perhaps Kumar would like to enlighten us as to why?

Sir Harpal Kumar’s response is telling. In refusing to credit anyone with the creation of the Race for Life, he avoids lying about the event’s true origins in the way the charity has done for nearly a quarter of a century. It is worth noting that he chooses not to deny that Jim Cowan created the event. Why not, if previous CRUK yarns were true?

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

If, like Pete, you would like to withdraw your support for Cancer Research UK in light of our campaign, please do not stop supporting vital research into cancer via other charities.


How much of each entry fee for the Race for Life goes towards funding actual research into cancer?

100%?  75%?  50%?  25%?

It’s a good question. The Race for Life website doesn’t share this information. In fact finding out is a little like uncovering one of life’s really big secrets.

But why? Surely it can’t be because they would rather people assume that some of their entry fee goes to research rather than let them know it doesn’t?

That’s right, the actual figure from each entry which goes to research into cancer is £0.00.

Yes, you read that right, 0%. Zero.

While the Race for Life’s current website doesn’t disclose this fact anywhere, previously Cancer Research UK did admit to it in the small print.

In 2006, a clause in the small print stated:

“We have to charge an entry fee to cover the organisation of our events and participant communication costs. By charging an entry fee we make sure that every penny of your sponsorship money goes straight to Cancer Research UK*. We do everything in our power to keep costs as low as possible. Here are a few examples of what Cancer Research UK needs to pay for with the entry fee: Barriers and staging; Venue hire; PA system; Toilets; Race numbers; Medals; Marquees; Van Hire; Signage; Postage of entry packs; Data processing; Call centre operators…”

And yet, what this expensive looking list of ‘overheads’ fails to mention is that many venues are provided free of charge by local authorities and other providers (yes, your Council Tax subsidises the event in many areas). It also fails to list the numerous paid positions reliant on the Race for Life for their salaries; and the fact that the event has a number of corporate partners who support it is also conveniently overlooked.

For example, Tesco’s support for the event has recently been valued at £40 million. And still not a single penny of your entry fee supports research into cancer. Are you feeling just a little misled? Just a little like a key piece of information (or two) has been withheld from you?

£40 million! And there are other corporate partners to the event, listed here.

There is more. Re-read that small print clause quoted above. We have marked an asterisk next to another potentially misleading comment. *Note that they do not state that it is so that every penny of your sponsorship goes to fund research into cancer. No, they actually state it is so that, “every penny of your sponsorship money goes straight to Cancer Research UK.”

That is not the same thing as funding research. That is paying for expensive London and regional offices, paying executive salaries (of which the top five combined earn over £1 million p.a.), and subsidising other activities…. How much goes to actual research? We don’t know. An extensive search found no answer and in the absence of any solid facts, of anything unambiguous, how much is anyone’s guess.

But hang on, there is a ‘Where Your Money Goes’ page on the Race for Life website. But, again, it is misleading. It covers only the (unstated) percentage of funds raised which actually go to research into cancer. Not the entry fee. And not that percentage of funds raised which Cancer Research UK don’t seem to disclose. Is it deliberately misleading given none of the entry goes to research, something clearly intimated by omitting any correct information as to where the entry fee actually goes? Only Cancer Research UK can answer that question.

There are local authority employees who carry out lots of local work as part of their job description (your Council Taxes at work again). And let’s not forget the number of unpaid volunteers who support the event every year in good faith, who provide time and service free of charge. Much of the work is done by these volunteers while the entry and a portion of the funds raised off the back of their work contribute to the salaries of others. And some of these volunteers tell some pretty damning stories about the ‘professionals’ involved in the staging of the Race for Life and the resources provided. 

And just to be absolutely sure that something about all of the above isn’t hidden somewhere in the event’s rules, we checked them too. As might have been predicted, there is nothing about where the entry fees go (or don’t go) here either. 

But then, Cancer Research UK have a history of misleading you. They have been misleading everyone as to who created the Race for Life for nearly a quarter of a century. We can only guess as to what else they mislead the public over. 

(For the record, Jim Cowan’s original model for the Race for Life guaranteed a percentage of the entry fee funded research and all funds raised through sponsorship did, along with profits made through merchandising. It is Cancer Research UK who have changed this. Maybe that is what they refer to when they say it wasn’t Jim’s idea?).

Want your money to actually support research into cancer? Click here to see some alternative charities you could support.


Long time Cancer Research supporter Pete Brindle has emailed Sir Harpal Kumar, the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, to inform him that he is withdrawing his support for the charity after hearing about their persistent lies over the event’s origins.

Pete has given us his permission to share his email, sent on 10th May, in full:

Mr Kumar

I am writing to inform you that as of today (10.05.2018) I have cancelled my direct debit, donating £20 each month to Cancer Research UK. Instead, I shall be donating the same amount to a smaller independent charity in the same sector. My reason for this is plain and simple. Im aware that CRUK organises the ‘Race 4 Life’, a very worthy institution that is now renowned throughout the UK, if not globally, and an institution that has helped increase CRUK’s visibility in the charity sector (I believe CRUK are now the third largest charity in the UK by donation). To date, I believe the race has helped raise just over £500m. 

However, I am also aware that the original organiser and the man responsible for creating the ‘Race 4 Life’ has not received the recognition he deserves. Without the knowledge Jim Cowan brought to your charity, it is arguable that it would have the exposure it has today. Mr Cowan isn’t after public recognition, although I believe his efforts for charity are worthy of such, but your charity’s failure to recognise his contribution is having a detrimental effect on his reputation. Just including his collaboration with yourselves on his CV has seen him miss out on positions because CRUK refuse to acknowledge his contribution. I find it quite disgraceful that a leading charity (as well as some of its previous and current employees) feel the need to ignore his efforts in order to forward their own reputations.

I have made a number of close friends aware of my reason for cancelling my donation to CRUK and they are of the same opinion. I’m sure you’re aware how difficult it is to gain a good reputation and how detrimental poor publicity is to a major charity (Oxfam!). A simple public acknowledgement is all that is required. 

I urge you to put this right. 

Yours sincerely 

Pete Brindle

We now look forward to hearing about the contents of their formal response.

It is important to us to note that Pete is continuing his support for cancer charities, just not Cancer Research UK. We urge others considering withdrawing their support for CRUK to continue to support other cancer charities so that vital research and support continues.

Update (30th May 2018): Sir Harpal Kumar has now replied to Pete’s email. You can read his reply and our reaction to it here.


You can help us to persuade Cancer Research UK to finally recognise Jim Cowan as the creator of the Race for Life.


Use one or more of the following ideas to expose the lies and share the facts:

  • Like, share, follow, tweet and retweet.

Make social media do the leg work. When you see a post or a tweet from us, like it and share it to help us get the facts out there.

Race 4 Truth on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter.

  • Tell friends and family about the Race 4 Truth.

Word of mouth, whether online, by phone, or face to face is still the most effective way to share news about a campaign.

  • Comment on (or tweet to) Cancer Research UK’s and Race for Life’s Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

Direct interaction will force a quicker response and puts them in a position where they have to choose between more lies or admitting to the truth.

Cancer Research UK on Facebook and on Twitter.

Race for Life on Facebook and on Twitter.

  • Tell the media about the Race 4 Truth campaign.

Whether local or national, whether printed, online, radio, or television, Cancer Research UK are far more likely to correct the wrongs of the past if there is a media spotlight on them. Write, email, or engage via social media to get journalists informed.

  • Write to or email Cancer Research UK.

Demand answers as to their history of falsifying the creation of the Race for Life and ask why they are not telling the truth, why they do not give Jim Cowan due credit?

Cancer Research UK Chief Executive:

Write to him at: Sir Harpal S Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD.

Email him at: [email protected]

Cancer Research UK National Events Manager:

Write to her at: Annette Quarry, National Events Manager, Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD.

Email her at: [email protected]

  • Withdraw your support from Cancer Research UK.

Nothing will get results faster than hitting them in the pocket. Don’t enter the Race for Life, don’t take part in their other events, don’t donate, don’t play their lottery, don’t leave them anything in your will…..don’t support them.

But do continue to support research into cancer by switching your support to other charities:

The Institute of Cancer Research

Worldwide Cancer Research

World Cancer Research Fund

Don’t let dishonesty win.

Support the Race 4 Truth.