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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Join the Walney Family Fun Run

THE Energy for Life Walney Family Fun Run returns this June, with a new 10.2k challenge. Free weekly training sessions will take you from couch to fun runner in just 12 weeks, reports JO DAVIES

IF you would like to get fitter, enjoy camaraderie and being outdoors, you won’t want to miss the Walney Offshore Windfarms’ Energy For Life Family Fun Run, which returns on June 17.

After the success of the first event, organisers promise a bigger, better event this year while keeping the emphasis on “fun” and “family”.

But for those wanting a challenge, participants have the option of stepping up to the new distance of 10.2km, in addition to the original 5.1km run.

To get you started, for the second year, the Walney Family Fun Run training sessions returned to an island basking in glorious sunshine on Monday evening.

The training plan is designed to get just about anyone running 5.1km in 12 weeks. The sessions will be held every Monday and Wednesday, starting at 6pm, from Sandy Gap on Walney.

They’re free and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Attending the first session on Monday were runners aged between nine and 70-plus.

The first run involved a five-minute power walk, followed by intervals of one minute runs and four-minute walks.

Training leaders Ian Jones and Sonja Foster, dressed in fluorescent tabards, set the 26 runners on their way along sun-kissed Biggar Bank.

This year they will be joined by Walney Wind Cheetahs’ Christine Adams, Karen Bell and Stuart Wallace, who were bitten by the running bug after taking part in the inaugural fun run in September.

Participating for the first time were mother and daughter Paula Toal and Abbie Hunter, who had been recruited by grandmother Anita Husband. Walneyite Paula said: “We wanted to get a bit healthier and a bit fitter.

“In 12 weeks I will be running the whole distance.”

Her mum Anita, a member of Friends of Walney, which received £1,292 through proceeds from last year’s run, said: “I’ve kept up my running on the treadmill at the gym, but it’s nice to be out in the open.”

As the group passed a string of horses trotting in the opposite direction, Anita added: “You don’t see horses while you’re stood on the treadmill. Plus it’s nice being out in a crowd again.”

Phil Heighton, also from Walney, saw the training sessions advertised and decided to come along.

He said: “I used to do a bit of running but stopped. It gets a bit boring doing it on your own.”

Those new to running can jog along at their own pace without fear they will be left behind because the frontrunners continually loop to the back of the group.

The training sessions are also a great opportunity for people to come out to Walney and see the inspiration for the event.

Organised by Walney Offshore Windfarms, in partnership with the Evening Mail, the Park Leisure Centre, Barrow Borough Council, Friends of Walney and Barrow Borough Sports Council, the new 10.2km course signifies the windfarm expansion since the first event.

While there were 51 wind turbines off the coast of Walney now there are 102 with the completion of Walney 2, represented by the new distance. The Evening Mail’s commercial director, Frank Stretton, said: “We’re linking this in with all the other health initiatives like the Love Life health event in February, John Murphy’s defibrillator campaign and building up to the Olympics and we’re really proud that Walney Offshore Windfarms, the Park Leisure Centre, Barrow Borough Council, Barrow Borough Sports Council and the Friends of Walney are really enthusiastic about supporting this initiative again.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to go along to the training – we had up to 84 people turn up last year and we want to better that this year.”

There was a fantastic attendance across the area for the Sport Relief Mile on Sunday and it’s hoped those runners will now focus on training for the Walney Family Fun Run.

Participants can enter individually, as a family or in teams of six, for either the 5.1km or the 10.2km distances.

Simply fill in the registration coupon, printed regularly in the paper or register online at www.sientries.co.uk

Entry costs £5 for adults, children under 16 can run for free, but must register and be accompanied by an adult.

A donation from all entry fees will be made to Friends of Walney to benefit local charities.

All entrants will receive a free T-shirt and goodie bag containing lots of great items. Plus, all finishers will receive a medal. There will be prizes awarded to winners in a number of different categories.

And the fun doesn’t stop there.

There will be an afternoon of activities following on from the event with plenty of fitness and fun for all the family.

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