The Get Britain Running partnership of leading mass participation events has today announced the launch of a brand new Virtual Winter Running Festival.
Runners can take part in a series of virtual half marathons consisting of the Great Welsh Half Marathon, Bath Half, ABP Southampton Half Marathon, rightmove MK Half Marathon, and Richmond RUNFEST.
Get Britain Running has put a new twist on the virtual event experience with the Virtual Winter Running Festival concept. Entry into any event will also grant access to a Virtual Winter Running Festival, where runners will get to experience a virtual Christmas market and fun for all the family. Here they will find delicious local recipes from partner events, bespoke playlists to listen to while running, and DIY decorations and activity packs for kids.
“Aside from the running itself, one of the things we all miss most about the event experience is the unmatched atmosphere before and after races,” said Tim Rogers, CEO of Realbuzz Group, creators of the Virtual Winter Running Festival website. “From the live music to the various stands and food stalls, the buzz about the place is always amazing to see. Our goal was to recreate that virtually, and we hope we’ve achieved that with the Virtual Winter Running Festival.”
One of the key goals of the Get Britain Running partnership is to improve public health through running. Before the COVID-19 pandemic almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England were already overweight and unfit, obesity rates in the UK having nearly tripled since 1975. During the first national lockdown physical activity levels across England plummeted further, with 30 per cent of the adult population being 'inactive' between March and May, and almost 12 million adults doing almost no exercise. (Source: Sport England Active Lives Adults Survey – Coronavirus Report)
Recent studies have shown that being overweight and unfit also increases your risk of catching COVID-19 and increases your risk of serious complications, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. (Source: Public Health England - Excess Weight and COVID-19 - Jul 2020).
Andrew Taylor, Race Director of the Bath Half Marathon, said: “Events and races provide a valuable aspiration and focus for running, and help keep runners motivated, which is particularly important in the winter months. So we wanted to offer a unique virtual event option while races are temporarily unavailable. We hope that this will encourage people to form healthy exercise habits, to help combat COVID and improve fitness in Britain.”
David Martin-Jewell, Managing Director at Front Runner Events added “most runners need goals to help them remain focussed and winter is no different. This year, regardless of the lack of events, it shouldn’t be any different, so this series of races intends to add another dimension to the virtual offering and will allow participants to virtually wander through the streets of each town and city as they run their half marathon. Also, for any newcomers, it is a good distance to aim for, 13.1 miles is long way and whether it is walked, run or a combination of the 2, it makes no difference – we are simply trying to help maintain goals and help build fitness and health as we prepare to head into 2021. Running is fun, hard but still fun, and if you can do the series with a few friends it certainly makes it more enjoyable.”
Runners who finish the virtual events in the Winter Running Festival will receive official race medals and merchandise once they have submitted evidence of their run, giving them the perfect goal to work towards. Also on offer for runners who complete all five virtual events is a unique series medal, showcasing the achievement of finishing the virtual Great Welsh Half Marathon, Bath Half, ABP Southampton Half Marathon, rightmove MK Half Marathon, and Richmond RUNFEST. The medal will showcase the five event logos in a high quality 3d multi-layered medal, designed by Realbuzz Group.
To make the event as accessible as possible, free entries will be available with digital medals for taking part. All runners will be able to showcase their achievement on social media, with a Virtual Winter Running Festival overlay for their finish-line selfie.
Another of the guiding principles of Get Britain Running is to support charities, and the campaign has partnered with a range of 30 charities for the launch of the Virtual Winter Running Festival. Runners can make on-the-spot donations to partner charities when they enter a virtual event, or apply for a special fundraiser place with a cause close to their heart.
For more information on the Get Britain Running Virtual Winter Running Festival, visit virtual.getbritainrunning.com.
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