It’s not for the faint hearted to turn out early on a Saturday morning with your kids for running practice but a local not-for-profit organization called ‘Kids Run Free’ has made it fun, at least.
‘Kids Run Free’ was established by Catherine O’Carroll and Martine Verweij in 2010. They are dedicated to organising free kids’ running races throughout the UK.
At Solihull School from 9am to 10am once a month, Martine Verweij sets a good example, taking her children along with a band of volunteers to organise races for children from two years upwards. Local athletic coaching professionals volunteer by time keeping and helping to organise the race in a professional manner.
I met James who did an internship for this organisation after his time with the Paras and his enthusiasm was infectious.
I wondered how the two-year-olds would get on but sure enough over 50m they got the idea perfectly. The older children run longer distances such as 400m for the 7 to 8 year olds and up to 1km for those up to 16. From there they can move on to the weekly park run of 5km.
I couldn’t help thinking that with the Olympics next year this could really catch on. Who knows, we might have the next Usain Bolt in our midst! It’s clear the children enjoy it and of course it is competitive but learning about competition is a skill we need for life. If we just consider the impact of the couch potato life style of today’s youth, we have to do something about it.
Recent statistics showed that far too many children are obese in the UK so there is no time to lose in helping the next generation to turn this around. So I applaud ‘Kids Run Free’ who want to get all children passionate about exercise, motivated and inspired to achieve. They aim to have 24,000 kids running at events by the end of 2012, spread across England.
The welcome side product is that not only are the children healthier, they are happier and more confident too. If you want to find out more, go to www.kidsrunfree.co.uk. The next session for kids is September 24th at Solihull School at 9am.