World champion hurdler and record holder Colin Jackson CBE and Perri Shakes-Drayton have called on running communities to get involved in a new project and encourage more children to GO Run For Fun.
Colin and Perri took time out from their busy schedules to challenge members of Newham and Essex Beagles athletics club in the Olympic borough of Newham, to launch GO Run For Fun
, the UK’s newest mass participation running campaign for children. The idea behind GO Run For Fun is simple - to encourage kids aged between five and 10 to get off the couch, give the TV a rest, get active and have fun, regardless of ability.
Building on the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the recent World Athletics Championships, GO Run For Fun has teamed up with Nova International, the people behind the iconic Great North Run, to deliver a series of large and small running events to encourage kids to take part and inspire the next generation of sporting talent.
Who could you encourage to try running?
The first GO Run For Fun event took place on Saturday (14 September) as part of the Bupa Mini Great North Run, but there will be more than 50 Go Run For Fun events happening across all corner of the UK over the next 12 months and running groups
are encouraged to get involved and think about who they could encourage to get involved.
By September 2014, the organisers expect 30,000 children to have put on their trainers and GO Run For Fun t-shirts, and have joined their friends to run one km or one mile at one of the events. They are also confident that the GO Run For Fun campaign will grow in popularity in successive years, becoming a well-established part of the athletics and school calendars as more children sign up and more clubs and schools host their own fun run events.
Colin Jackson called on running communities to ask themselves who they could encourage to try running: “I think this is great and I am personally calling for local clubs to do their bit. We will help them to organise an event - they just have to get their young members to get involved, get their friends to come along and give running a try.
“An active and healthy lifestyle is so important. And these fun events are a great way for kids to get out of the house and have fun with their mates - running. We really must make sure that kids are given the opportunity to get active from an early age, and GO Run For Fun provides the chance to do just that. If they enjoy it you never know where it might end up, we might find Britain’s best talent for the future.
“Running is simple, kids do it naturally, and it’s fun and good for their longer term development. I am personally calling for parents to get their children involved now!”
Perri Shakes-Drayton said: “This is a great campaign and I am backing it simply because I know how important it is for children to be active and to lead a healthy lifestyle. From a very young age, kids chase each other around and play tag, long before they reach the playground. This campaign just gives them another outlet to run for the pure pleasure of it. These days, more than ever, it’s not about how good they are - what’s really important is that they are running and having fun.”
England Athletics CEO Chris Jones said: “England Athletics is proud of its alliance with GO Run For Fun and we are delighted to endorse the delivery of this specific initiative that extends coverage of this great sport of athletics to the masses, particularly in their formative years.
“Local clubs are such an integral part of getting young people involved in sport from the grass roots up and through this campaign, we can all come together to be part of a mass movement to get our future generations active and healthy.”
GO Run For Fun events are going to be happening all over the UK, including Glasgow, Swansea, Southampton and Newcastle. For more information about how you can get involved and to register your local club or school’s interest in joining the campaign, please visit: www.gorunforfun.com