Thursday, 17 July 2014

Festival of Running in Leamington

This weekend, the sun shone over more than 150 children, racing round the track of Edmondscote Athletics Club in Leamington Spa.
They had come from all over the Midlands for the “Festival of Running.” This is the third year of Kids Run Free’s annual festival. Children, parents and volunteers from all of Kids Run Free’s 10 locations came to the charity’s home town, Leamington Spa.

Like all Kids Run Free events, it was free and accessible to 0-16 year olds, and open to kids of all abilities. Along with running, children could also buy ice cream and there was also a raffle. Leamington Mayor John Knight and local MP Chris White came to show their support for the Festival of Running and inspire children, parents and volunteers. Here is the Mayor talking to some kids.

The event started at 10:00am, with a set of Kids Run Free Races for different age groups that lasted till 11:15. After this came the Kids Marathon celebrations. Unlike previous Annual Festivals, this year’s Festival of Running was held in conjunction with the Kids Marathon. Those of you who follow Kids Run Free will know that this is a new project that takes Kids Run Free’s activities into primary schools, involving children running the equivalent of a marathon in their own time. The Festival of Running gave children a chance to finish their Kids Marathon in style, in front of their friends and family. Here are friends and family showing lots of support.

At 12:00, children were awarded their Kids Marathon certificates to celebrate how far they had come – well – run! The children that won the marathon were Martha Freem, Elliot Sallmarsh, Kelly-Marie Flynn, Joshua Farrel, Marie Timms, Zoe Cooper and Alex Roberts and three lucky kids were even presented with their Kids Marathon medal! Here is one kid, looking very happy to receive his Kids Marathon certificate.

The Festival of Running was supported by generous sponsors. The Festival of Running Raffle was possible due to the generosity of Big Blue Cuddle, ASOS, Stone the crows, Vue Cinemas Leamington, Blueberry Hill Patisserie, Head Leamington. Finally, thanks to Bridgestone Tyres for providing the lions share of the funding, and to their long running help and support to Kids Run Free throughout the year. Also thanks to Goldcrest Cleaning for funding crucial aspects of the event, such as the T-shirts that the kids loved wearing.

Yours Dashingly, Dash

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Kids Run Free Event Saturday 5th July

Last weekend saw Kids Run Free hold the latest of the charity’s regular running events in all of its 10 locations. Regular supporters of Kids Run Free will know that the main way we get children into running is by holding fun, sustainable running events in the parks and green spaces of all our locations. These are accessible to 0-16 year olds and typically last for an hour, with different races for different age groups so all children have something they can succeed at and enjoy. Since the charity started, these have proven massively popular with parents and children all over the Midlands and even, most recently, in London.

Last weekend’s event was a typical example of Kids Run Free at its best. Even though it was really rainy, children, parents and volunteers were really enthusiastic. Here they are at the Bidford event running (and probably singing as well!) in the rain.

The 35 children attending Bidford really went the extra mile, impressing their parents and the volunteers with their speed and determination. Bidford was a great success as the kids were “awesome” and “did themselves proud, joining in & not giving up.” Check out Chris Spriggs’ Bidford-on-Avon facebook page at for more awesome photos.

Meanwhile at Coventry the rain didn’t stop everyone having a brilliant time. Here are some of them warming up.

And here they are with their umbrellas. I told you it was raining!

Last but not least, Kids Run Free’s event in Leamington (our home town!) was a great success. There were 35 children attending. Here are some of them.

Sadly, this event was the last one for Leamington volunteers Steve Atherton and Steve Redman as they are leaving. Here are both Steves with fellow volunteers Sanjit and Sarah.
 Steve Atherton was the first Leamington Race Director when the event started, and since then he has helped out at Leamington. Steve Redman’s volunteering activities with Race Director Larissa have been invaluable for Kids Run Free. Kids Run Free is indebted to both Steves for their services, time and commitment.

Now that Steve Atherton and Steve Redman are no longer with Kids Run Free, we are looking for more volunteers to contribute their time and commitment to the Leamington event. If you’re interested, please email

Below are the numbers of children for each location:
Leamington -35
Solihull- 30
Bidford- 35
Birmingham- 30
Stratford- 35
Nuneaton- 17
Northampton- 5
Richmond- 35

Yours Dashingly, Dash