Run! update: Project reaches 50k participants as it prepares for a summer like no other!


With all eyes on London and not long to go until the Olympics, along with the build up to the Torch Relay arriving in the capital, the Run! project is capitalising on these once in a lifetime opportunities.

Now, with having encouraged 50,000 individuals to have a go at athletics in one way or another, Run! Activators are continuing full steam ahead

have led more than 81 Athletics Access events since February 2011 with another 50 planned up to and during the Games across the capital. The project is involved in piloting a number of new initiatives linked to England Athletics' Whole Sport Plan, including new AthleFIT sessions, 14-25 activities, Satellite Clubs, Club Leaders and a new Compact Facilities pilot in Hackney. Over £200,000 external small grants have been secured by Run! Activators. What's more, 78 new session groups have been set up, 366 volunteers recruited, 100 new LiRF courses and 59 Run England groups have started! Run! is about to embark on an exciting new Social Action Volunteer project in partnership with StreetGames to develop young leaders between 14-25 to form the base of the new Doorstep Clubs.

One of the Run! new clubs, S Factor Academy, have secured their Clubmark award and received funding from Sported to recruit a part time Club Administrator and the club have also launched a new website. Thanks to Run! Activator Lisa Miller, Olympic boxer Julius Francis will be helping out the club with workshops, competing, mentoring and undertaking his athletics coach qualification. Julius is receiving throws mentoring from Run! Activator Shaun Medlen.

Another new club called 'Run dem Crew West' has been launched and is now 74 members strong and growing. It was created by the Westminster Run! Activator Ellie Wood as the Run dem Crew club in East London is now at capacity of 150 runners every Tuesday. The Run! Activators have also launched new Run dem Crew Youngers sessions working with the 14-21 age group, new leaders have been trained up on this creative new project. The first Run dem Crew Youngers inclusive session has been launched in Greenwich and is linked with the new borough Inclusive PE fitness initiative designed by Run! Activator Melissa Catchpole.

Over the course of the next few months, Run! Activators will be looking to get more inactive people involved in order to reach its target of converting 14,000 'inactives' by February 2013 and attracting 10% disabled participants to the sport. So far 6124 'inactives' have been recruited and 1177 disabled participants. Initiatives including Run England and AthleFIT have been set up in partnership with John Lewis in Newham. Run! is also approaching mental health organisations including MIND through the Haringey Run! Activator Tamsin Fudge, who has recently been donated new racing wheelchairs from London Marathon for the borough's satellite sessions. Brent Activator Andre Fernandez has set up stretching sessions at care and old people’s homes to work on their mobility and confidence. Tower Hamlets Activator Nicole Evans is linking with Corporate Companies in Canary Wharf to assist them with their Sports Days and Athlefit sessions. New High steppers have been donated to Activator Christina Adenaike to develop AthleFIT sessions in the borough through the partnership with Access Sports.

Activities are being planned for the Torch Relay and at the BT Live Sites in Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Victoria Park and Brick Lane and during the Games in Stratford and the O2 as well as at Festival Jamaica, which Run! has been working closely with.

A handful of Run! participants will be volunteering at London 2012 at Games Makers, with young athletes acting as Kit Carriers under the supervision of Run! Activator Coral Nourrice, who will be team leader. The IOC have commissioned 'Can Communicate' to make a film about the Olympics and its legacy and as part of the package, the film makers will be visiting previous Olympic host cities as well as interviewing representatives from Run! in Newham, people involved, inspired or benefitting from the Games.

Run! Volunteers do not go un-noticed! One of the Newham coaches Segrid Ayers has been awarded a Newham Inspiring People Award and in Tower Hamlets, Run! volunteer Andrew Hall has been nominated for a Queen Mary University Sports Award and LRF leader within the borough Jake Waldron has now gained employment as a Run England Activator.

Run! Project Manager Rhian Horlock said: "There are exciting times are ahead for the project as it is on target to meet its goals with participants currently standing at 51,010. I would like to thank the Activators for their ongoing hard work, dedication and commitment to the project. We are calling on volunteers to go out to join them in the inspiring the community to participate in athletics and find the next generation champions at these events. It's an opportunity to be a part of a once in a lifetime extraordinary experience."

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