England cricketers past and present team up to run the Vitality Westminster Mile
26 May 2019, 1:20 p.m.
Former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss teamed up with the current World Cup squad to run the Vitality Westminster Mile in central London today (Sunday 26 May) as more than 30 waves of runners came together to celebrate the world’s biggest timed mile event.
Strauss and his two sons, Sam and Luca, were running in memory of his wife Ruth, who died in December 2018 from a rare form of lung cancer, and to launch the Ruth Strauss Foundation alongside the entire England men’s ICC World Cup squad.
Strauss led the inaugural Ruth Strauss Foundation Family Mile as they ran to raise awareness and funds on the spectacular looped course from The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
“It is incredible to see so many people come together to support my wife and what we’re trying to do with the Foundation,” said Strauss, who captained the England test side from 2008 to 2012 and was part of the famous 2005 Ashes winning team.
“It is quite an emotional day but really special for me too. I have had huge support from the cricket family, but loads of others as well – friends, family, schools, all sorts. It’s great to see it all come together.
“It’s an incredible event to be part of,” added Strauss of London’s annual celebration of mile running. “It’s great to see kids here as young as three and four, and their grandparents alongside them.
“Anyone can do this, that’s the great thing, so it was a perfect way to launch the Foundation. To be here on The Mall and in front of Buckingham Palace is stunning. It is days like this that bring out the best in London and in the country.”
Strauss is hoping the initiative will help him raise some much-needed funds for the new Foundation, which aims to increase awareness of a form of lung cancer that can affect young people and women, in particular, including non-smokers.
Captain Eoin Morgan was one of the current England players who turned out to support Strauss as his squad warmed up for their imminent World Cup campaign with a jog around St James’s Park just four days before their opening one-day fixture against South Africa on Thursday.
“It means an incredible amount to support Andrew by taking part in the Ruth Strauss Foundation wave at the Vitality Westminster Mile,” he said. “I think he’s quite humbled by the turnout but there was never any question that the full England team and staff would come, as well as the Middlesex team.
“The Strauss family has played a huge part in making England cricket feel more like a family, so for the guys playing the World Cup this year, a big part of the last four years of preparation has involved the Strauss family.
“From the Start Line all the way through to the Finish Line today, there have been loads of kids taking part, all absolutely loving it – it really gives you a new energy and a different feel to a day off.
“Taking part in an event like this also puts things in perspective; as does the Ruth Strauss Foundation itself. There are big pressures during the World Cup but also it’s something to look forward to.”
“People will say it’s great for us to be here when the World Cup is around the corner, but cricket pales into the background against what Andrew’s been through,” added all-rounder Ben Stokes.
“We’re here to help him raise awareness of this disease and do what we can. We wanted to join with people from around the country to show our support.”
Strauss was full of gratitude for the England team’s efforts.
“It means a huge amount to me to have the England team here,” he said. “I know the situation they’re in right now and the huge demands on their time. I’m absolutely blown away that they made it.”
The Ruth Strauss Foundation mile was one of 27 separate waves of mile events held earlier today for families, club runners, charities and schools. The British Championships One Mile Road Races for seniors, juniors and wheelchair athletes will be run over the same course this afternoon.