It takes time, effort, inspiration and love – along with a healthy dose of patience and humour to look after our children these days. With so many more distractions to keep them indoors, what does it take to get them active (….that doesn’t involve hunting Pokemon down in the streets of Reigate)? Karen Hanmore is our wildly energetic and ever-enthusiastic Run Reigate Kids Race Manager. We want to share some of her journey during the last few months.
Since our first year there has been great demand for us to introduce a kids race and I can see why. In our family it’s not going to be long till my 9 year old daughter can take me in a sprint race … I’m going to have to up my game or ask for a head start.
It took nearly 3 months to pin down exactly what kind of kids race Run Reigate would be. Not just any old kids run, but rather something very different – something which would embody them being active and spur them on to regular running, whilst having lots of fun. We thought about the event we’re best known for, the half-marathon, and from there the seeds were planted and the idea of a kids cumulative version grew. So 12 miles needed to be completed bit by bit, week in week out between Easter and September, with the grand finale 1.1 miles on race day.
Putting this particular race together has been a big job for the team as a whole, but in particular for Karen. We were fortunate that camera and printer giant Canon (headquartered in Reigate) shared our vision and got involved from the onset to sponsor the event. This has helped us resource it and to give the whipper snappers all the good stuff the grown-ups receive.
The next big job was to try to get all the local schools involved and, with 58 of them across Reigate & Banstead, that was always no mean feat. They’ve all been wonderful and keen to engage with us – to date Karen (sometimes with Dave our Race Director) has presented at 25 assemblies throughout the borough, battling through armies of excited youngsters and ensuring that each and every child knew they were warmly encouraged to take part. The Run Reigate team appreciates just how many schools have embraced the challenge, facilitating running sessions during term time and all the support for the idea we have received. As we write this, there are now children registered from over 150 schools, some as far away as London and Brighton.
Some schools, such as Lime Tree in Merstham, have gone above and beyond, sponsoring 16 of their children to take part and having a sign up rate of over 50% of the whole school! As Karen’s own children attend the school, she was inspired to start a running club there to encourage the pupils to see how much fun running can be. Every morning they meet, warm up and enjoy a variety of games including tag, relays, pyramids as well as timed laps so they can see their progression. It’s not competitive so that everyone feels they have a place.
Back to the event. The kids race will have it’s own start gantry in the park with a 1.1 mile route that joins up onto the tree-lined adults infrastructure, concluding at the finish in front of Priory School and thousands of spectators including all the adults fresh in from the Half Marathon and 10k. Here in a closed, controlled area, they will be awarded their full half-marathon medal – same as the adults, along with their high quality technical t-shirt, banana, water and kids goody bag. Parents – no nabbing those medals for yourselves now!
One of the most inspiring outcomes for us have been the amazing kids we’ve met along the way, many of whom Karen now regularly bumps into around town. One little girl even joined her this week whilst she was running laps of Priory lake to keep her company!
We’re delighted that so many families and schools have been keen to take part this year. Places have gone really quickly and it looks as though we will sell out prior to the event which is very exciting. If you haven’t booked your kids place already, you might want to soon. We hope all the kids have a fantastic summer holiday and please keep them running just for fun.
Don’t forget you can track the miles your kids run on our website – any questions, just drop us a line through the contact page.
The reaction to our first kids cumulative half marathon been inspiring, as has the reaction of schools, teachers, parents, sponsors and kids. In this wonderful Olympic year, sporting inspiration shouldn’t be hard to come by, but maybe some of it will be closer to home than you think.