Olympic champ Sally Gunnell gives running a healthy boost


Olympic gold medalist Sally Gunnell is lending a hand - and her fast feet - to a new campaign spearheaded by Sport England to get more people involved in running by joining local running groups led by qualified leaders.

Made possible by funding support from cruise line Royal Caribbean International, and delivered in partnership with Run England, the new Royal Caribbean Runners groups are designed to encourage health and fitness in everyday life in this high profile year.

In order to ensure group members have a high quality experience and benefit from the input of qualified leaders the groups are being delivered in partnership with Run England - the England Athletics recreational running programme.

This means all leaders will hold the Leadership in Running Fitness qualification and benefit from the support of the Run England programme.
Sally Gunnell said: “2012 is such a massive year for sport, there is simply no better time to get healthy. Fitness has always played a key part in my life and I’m thrilled to be sharing this passion to help get people motivated and taking their first running steps. Getting involved is easy and whether you’re a seasoned athlete, a weekend warrior or a beginner looking to start your first run, the Royal Caribbean Runners groups are making now the time to do it.”
Supported by Royal Caribbean International, Sport England and Run England, the new running groups will see individuals take part in a 12 week programme designed to improve their health and fitness in a fun and supportive environment. Not just for hardcore fitness fanatics, the new running groups are all about growing grassroots participation in the sport and getting Londoners to see the many benefits that come from staying active in day-to-day life.

Anyone who joins the new Royal Caribbean Runners groups will receive goodies and incentives to aid motivation. Plus, Run England is also offering the Leadership in Running Fitness qualification for those who want to be Royal Caribbean Runners group leaders. There are extra incentives, such as iPod Shuffles, for group leaders who recruit ten people into the new programme.

Geoff Wightman, project manager for Run England, said: "The partnership is great news for running groups and we are really looking forward to working together to give new and returning runners the help they need when taking their first steps in the sport.

"All the running groups, as they are delivered by Run England, will benefit from the support of the nation's running community and from the guidance of qualified and insured group leaders."

Richard Lewis, Sport England’s Chair, added: “Our aim is to build partnerships that will help us to grow and sustain participation in sport at the grassroots level. Royal Caribbean offers a huge range of sports activities on board their cruise ships and our relationship represents an extension of their commitment to encouraging active lifestyles. Royal Caribbean running groups are open to and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of ability and we hope the support and motivation of others will inspire more people to take up the sport, building a lasting legacy beyond this year’s Games.”

Dominic Paul, Royal Caribbean International’s vice president and managing director, Northern Europe, UK and Ireland managing director said: “From sports courts to surf simulators, making investments that get people active has always been a key part of Royal Caribbean International’s business. Our ships are designed with fitness features in mind and because our guests have so much fun being active onboard we wanted to bring this to life - on land. After Sally enjoyed a cruise with us, and raved about the fitness facilities onboard, we wanted to encourage more people to get active both on land and at sea. With Sally and Sport England’s help we’re taking our fitness focus one step further and hope to motivate both runners and those who have never run before to get and stay fit.”
All participants will receive a ‘Royal Caribbean Runners’ dedicated T-shirt upon signing up. Participants that complete the 12 week course will receive a waterproof running jacket. All leaders and runners will also be entered into a prize draw to win a cruise for two people on board Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas in 2012, sailing directly out of Southampton.

For more information please visit www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/runners.

All Royal Caribbean Runners groups and members of these groups must sign up to Run England at www.runengland.org/royalcaribbeanrunners to take advantage of the incentives on offer.

All Royal Caribbean Runners groups are delivered by Run England – the official England Athletics recreational running initiative which aims to get the nation running. Regardless of age, fitness level, aspiration, background or location, anyone can be a part of England’s running community. Run England is here to help and encourage more people to run, and to run more often with the support of running groups and qualified group leaders.

Royal Caribbean International is the world’s most innovative cruise line and leads the way in the scope and range of facilities onboard its ships. Adrenalin filled onboard features include rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, running tracks, surf simulators, scuba diving pools and much, much more. Gyms onboard Royal Caribbean International ships are some of the best in the fitness world – on one ship alone there are over 158 fitness machines. Royal Caribbean International’s ships sail throughout the world, including from UK ports of call.

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