Join the Half Marathon Dolly Dash

Runners, fitness fans and those willing to flex their calf muscles for a good cause are invited to join the Hastings Half Marathon Dolly Dash and help raise cash for a local children's book charity.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 4:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 7:37 pm
Tanya Smale (dressed as Dolly Parton) - Image Nation runner in last year's Hastings Half Marathon SUS-190115-113916001

Imagine Nation, a local charity which aims to provide free books to every pre-school child in Hastings and St Leonards, is appealing for runners to step out on their behalf at the annual half marathon, which takes place on Sunday, March 24.

Imagine Nation is affiliated with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, launched in the icon’s home town in Tennessee, USA in 1995 when she realised the benefits that her father would have had if he were not illiterate.

In keeping with the Dolly theme, Imagine Nation would love to see anyone who wants to dress up at the half marathon as Dolly Parton, with some runners opting to don Dolly wigs and boobs in the past.

The iconic Dolly Parton SUS-190115-113905001

Imagine Nation’s Annalise Elam says the Hastings Half Marathon has been the charity’s biggest fund raiser for the past two years. “We hope to recruit even more runners or walkers to take part to help promote our work and raise funds,” she said. “We are offering to reimburse the £30 registration fee if runners raise £160 or more and this amount will also fund 60 books. This equates to one child receiving a carefully selected, age appropriate book every month from birth to the age of five. The aim is for every child to build their own personal library. There is evidence to show that the greater the number of books owned by a child, the better their educational outcome, employment prospects and even health in the future.”

With funds raised so far, Imagine Nation have posted over 650 books to local children and launched ongoing projects with Turner House, which provides accommodation and support for single young mums and their children along with the Fellowship of St Nicholas, which provides care for children suffering the effects of poverty, disadvantage, neglect and abuse.

Annalise says feedback from parents at Turner House has been encouraging with one parent saying: “I’m dyslexic. I went to eleven schools. I mucked around at school and didn’t get any help because of my bad behaviour. I share the books I receive from Imagine Nation with my little girl. The books help me to read. I read better now. I sit and read to her after bath time. It’s part of her bedtime routine.”

Annalise added: “Imagine Nation is also excited to announce a project with The Bridge Nursery. All children attending will receive one book a month until their fifth birthday.”

Anyone interested in running the half marathon or to find out more visit: