Monday, 22 August 2016

Spotlight- Derek Hateley Race Director

Many of the Kids Run Free's Race Directors have found success by taking their passion for running and  turning it into a fun filled rewarding volunteer role. The unpredictable weather, and time commitment involved could be seen as an obstacle to volunteering but for most of those who have given their time to Kids Run Free it has been a really positive experience, a way to give back and inspire youngsters to become healthier and fitter, and for some children to discover a love of running which will last into adulthood. Knowing they are making a difference by passing on something they love to the next generation makes it all worthwhile.
This month we would love to put the spotlight on Derek Hateley, one or our longest serving,  and most successful Race Directors. He has consistently increased attendance at his Coventry Memorial Park location from its launch in 2012 and has made it one of the most popular community fun events for children in the area.
Why Kids Run Free?
My own kids have been doings Kids Run Free since they could pretty much walk and run, so it’s a great thing to give something back.  For kids it’s a great way for them to get involved in running and athletics.

What do you think is behind the success of your event?

I always try to make the event feel like something that the grown-ups do. A lot of the kids have parents that run, and kids always want to do what their Moms and Dads do.
But make it as fun as possible.  Our biggest age group is 3-5 year olds, so the warm ups always include some spinning around.
Always make sure I’m nice and quiet when starting the 0-2 year old race.  I remember from my own kids, they don’t want some scary bloke shouting “Are you ready” before the race.  The older ones love it and it’s part of the game that they always have to be asked twice and they then yell at the top of their voices that they are.
And I think because the parents know we’ll be there come rain or shine they make the effort to bring the kids along.

What kind of relationship do you have with the parents and children?
The kids are great.  They just want to run.  The parents are great too.  They’re understanding and help out if we’re a bit short of helpers.

Do you have reliable volunteers supporting you?

Volunteers are always a bit hit and miss. Dianne has been for a few events now, so she is a great help.  The parents are great when we are a bit thin on the ground.  They help with the elastic bands and counting the laps.

What gets you up in the morning? (at a Kids Run Free event)

Knowing that there will be a group of kids that what to kick start their weekend with a run, whatever the weather.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

My experience of being a Race Director

By Sisi Tsoi

Six weeks ago I started to work as a covering Race Director at Kids Run Free. We had great weather so it meant we could do our events under glorious sunshine. During these weeks the kids have come out with the funniest things:

‘You get what you get and you don’t get upset!’

‘Perseverance - do you know that word?’

‘You’re lucky I am only going to run 20 million laps today!’

‘Less talking, more running’ (You would think that was from me, but it wasn’t)

‘We should all run to the sunshine!’

‘Bananas taste so great after a run, because it makes you bananas.’

‘I am a much better runner than Daddy.’

‘I bet Daddy and Mummy will never run together’ (but they did)

‘Can I have a day off tomorrow?’ (after one lap!)

‘I love to collect all the colours of the bands.’

...these are to name but a few - I couldn’t remember the rest.

Things I learnt:

Warm weather makes everyone happy,

Being sweaty is a strange sensation for some.

The Race Director’s job is a very important job and to be taken very seriously,

Talking in a monotone is never a good idea at 9am Saturday morning!

Setting up an obstacle course while the kids are starting to arrive is not the best time - the course either gets forgotten about – or I have never had so many helpers!

Confronting my own fear of public speaking / shouting makes me happy... and can also help with some shyness,

Forgetting to bring water for my own children before a race is a very bad idea!

Some children keep me on my toes by trying to become invisible.

Playing Mummy is not just for girls,

Landing flat on your backside can give the kids a giggle.

Every inch of the race is measured….and not just by me!

When some of the kids are feeling tired, praise is the best medicine!

I hope all of the children had an amazing time, I know I enjoyed it.

From baby steps to giant leaps - keep fit and stay young.