On Friday (22nd September), a small group of Race 4 Truth supporters visited Cancer Research UK’s HQ (CRUK) and spent a couple of hours giving flyers to anyone going into or coming out of the building.
Plenty of flyers were handed out, the police passed by and wished the team well, and even an early Autumn shower could not damp spirits.
It is time for CRUK to tell the truth about the creation of the Race for Life and finally recognise Jim Cowan for his incredible creation.
Look out for more flying visits from Race 4 Truth next year when we will target CRUK offices, shops and events.
CRUK by name, crooks by nature.
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.
Can the integrity of the media be trusted? Is it a given?
A November 2022 survey reported that, in the UK, only 37% of people trust the media. Only the people of Japan and South Korea trust their media less.
At the Race 4 Truth, our experience is that the media have little interest in reporting truth. And, if that is the case, why should people trust what they do report?
Over recent years we have attempted to reach out to hundreds of journalists, reporters, editors, and news outlets with regard the story of Cancer Research UK’s theft of the Race for Life and their rewriting of its history and removing of the event’s actual creator, Jim Cowan, from that history.
We also know that Jim has also tried to raise interest among the media but has had no interest whatsoever, bar three interviews with Sonia Poulton (*links below).
Why is this? Isn’t the story newsworthy? It is story of a major charity stealing an event from its creator and then deleting him from its history. It is a story of fraud, of hypocrisy, of executives looking the other way, of dishonesty, of misinformation, and more.
And yet, the UK’s media do not believe the tale to be even worthy of investigating, let alone reporting. The UK’s media do not want to ask the question of what dishonesty on this level means for other claims, other tales, told by Cancer Research UK?
Why not? We don’t know. We do wonder whether the not insignificant advertising revenue brought into the various media outlets trump the desire to report the truth? But, how are we supposed to trust the integrity of a media willing to turn such a blind eye?
Consider the Daily Mail. Aware of the history and not interested in reporting it, nor even investigating it. Instead, they have chosen to sponsor the Race for Life. In full knowledge of the event’s history and Cancer Research UK’s rewriting of history, they have chosen that as the side they wish to align their brand with. What other stories are they ignoring? What other injustices go unreported?
Then, there is the Southern Daily Echo. In January 2005 they incorrectly stated that Louise Holland was the founder of the Race for Life. Of course, they may have reported this in innocence, inadvertently taking Holland or Cancer Research UK at their word.
However, when Jim Cowan (the Race for Life’s real founder) was made aware of the report in March this year, he contacted the Daily Echo’s editor, Ben Fishwick, seeking the article either be amended or removed. Unfortunately for Jim, for the Daily Echo’s version of reporting, the truth mattered not and the unamended article remains online for all to read (as of 11th May 2023).
It is worth also noting that the Daily Echo clearly do not want to ask whether, if the false claim was Louise Thomas’s (Holland’s married name), it had any impact on her securing a number of senior roles at a range of other charities in the intervening years? (as listed on LinkedIn here and here). Nor asking how she could have been the Race for Life’s founder when she didn’t even join Cancer Research UK until four months after the event was launched and over a year after it had first been proposed by Jim Cowan (as per her own LinkedIn profile)? Even the most rudimentary investigation would expose the 2005 story for the fiction it was, and is.
If we cannot trust the likes of the Daily Mail and the Daily Echo to display integrity, to care about honesty on this matter, what else that they report can be trusted, can be believed?
And, what of the rest of the nation’s media simply turning a blind eye to an historic injustice? Ignoring a tale that involves a major charity displaying or supporting dishonesty, hypocrisy, fraud, and more? Can we trust them, any of them?
The picture it paints is not one of a sector to be trusted to report facts, interested in investigating historical wrongdoing, or which cares about supporting truth over fiction.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK and the UK’s media are lagging behind.
Cancer Research UK are not shy when it comes to posting lots of stories, 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 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. Thy are fully aware that at least one key part of the charity’s history is, literally, made up. 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 of the Race For Life to exclude Jim Cowan, the person who actually created it, and then spent the next 27 years spreading different fictional versions (i.e. lies).
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?
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 but she was not interested. 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 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. 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. 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 a heads in the sand approach, an ignore any facts we don’t like mentality.
Surely, therefore, as well as the truth of anything 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.
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.
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.
In July we reported how Race for Life creator Jim Cowan had written open letters* to the sponsors of the Race For Life to highlight Cancer Research UK’s flawed in-house inquiry into the event’s origins and asking them to use their influence as event partners to lean on CRUK to open that inquiry up to public scrutiny. After all, if it was a properly conducted and honest inquiry, what could they possible have to hide by doing so?
In his letters Jim stated; “I am asking you to consider what asking Cancer Research UK to open their inquiry to public scrutiny would say about your corporate and brand values? And, I would ask you to consider what not doing so would infer about those same values?”
Surely, what was being asked of the leaders of each of these companies was a reasonable request. That is, assuming those companies have the integrity and the moral compass to care about right and wrong, to care about the ethics and values of organisations they partner with and promote their brands through.
Sadly, none of them do. Over three months later only one has even bothered to reply. A Tesco ‘Customer Service Specialist’ replied stating that they were unable to hep with the matter. Global Radio (owners of Heart FM) and Scottish Power have not replied at all.
What does this say about the values of these three companies? What does it say about their moral and ethical positions, about their integrity? Obviously they see no issue in partnering with unethical organisations of dubious morals, organisations with a history of dishonesty who have been evidenced to look the other way when employees commit fraud. We know this because that is the history of Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life, catalogued on this website
We decided to look further and to research the stated values given by each company online.
Tesco’s ‘Core Purpose and Values’ statement does not make any reference to ethics, morals, integrity or honesty. None. Given this, given these values hold no relevance to Tesco, maybe their lack of interest in intervening to ask CRUK to display some integrity should not be surprising?
Tesco’s statement does state; “we treat people how they want to be treated.” Clearly not in the case of Jim Cowan. It also states; “every little help makes a big difference.” Maybe it does. If only Tesco could be bothered to offer that help. Especially on a matter of truth and honesty, of integrity.
Scottish Power’s parent company, Iberdrola, has a clear statement of ‘Our Values’ on its website. Under the section titled ‘Sustainable Energy’ they give ‘ethics’ as one of those values along with ‘responsibility’ and ‘transparency.’
And yet, their ethics do not stretch to having questions for a partner (CRUK) who has been evidenced several times over to act without ethics, without either morals or integrity. What does this say of ‘responsibility?’ Obviously only responsible enough to turn a blind-eye to wrong doing but not responsible enough to address it. And how believable is a value of ‘transparency’ in a company willing to look the other way when one of its partners (CRUK) acts without any transparency by keeping a flawed inquiry in-house, avoiding any public scrutiny?
And what of Global Entertainment, the owner of Heart FM? Despite searching, we could not find any Values Statement for the company at all. The closest thing we could find was on the ‘About’ page of their website where they state; “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” They might want to run that statement past Jim Cowan and ask him how their turning a blind eye to Cancer Research UK’s lack of ethics, lack of transparency, lack of integrity, makes him feel?
We also found a report in The Guardian newspaper from March 2010 reporting on Global’s (then) new Mission Statement. It included the line; “here’s to the obsessive ones who don’t walk by anything they can put right themselves.” We can only assume that Global have changed their mind about that one as they walked past this issue without even a sideways glance.
It is clear that Cancer Research UK and the Race for Life have found three partners who mirror their own shady values, who lack the ethics, morals or integrity to stand up and do the right thing.
In the cold light of day the ‘values’ talked about on the websites of Tesco, Global and Iderbrola are little more than empty words, window dressing covering up an absence of integrity they would rather their customers do not see.
And Cancer Research UK’s so-called inquiry remains hidden from any public scrutiny. The silence remains deafening.
In the Race 4 Truth, Cancer Research UK, Tesco, Scottish Power, and Heart FM are all lagging behind.
*The open letters from Jim Cowan to the sponsors of the Race for Life were dated 28th July 2021 and all were sent by recorded delivery. They were addressed to: Ashley Tabor-King, Founder & President, Global Entertainment & Talent Group Limited. Keith Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Power Renewables & Chief Corporate Officer, Scottish Power. Ken Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco.
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 is a question we have been asked several times since launching our campaign; “why don’t Cancer Research UK sue the Race 4 Truth?”
Over the last three years we have talked about their low morals and their poor ethics. We have called them out for their dishonesty. We have exposed their hypocrisy. And we have shown how they covered up the fraud of a former employee.
And their response? Silence. Not a word.
The question has to be asked why, when an organisation with a legal department the size of which would make many corporates blush is called out over their morals, their ethics, their hypocrisy, their dishonesty and their cover-ups, why it doesn’t sue those making those accusations?
The answer, as Cancer Research UK are undoubtedly 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 tall tales 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.