Marathon Kids’ Festival of Running 

On Thursday 29th June, Kids Run Free hosted The Festival of Running at Edmondscote Athletics Track in Leamington, a memorable event to acknowledge culmination of a successful and rewarding year of running and the achievements of children from 63 UK Marathon Kids primary schools. It takes place a week after we celebrated with the 30 London schools’ at an event in the Lee Valley Velo Park.

We welcomed over 400 children from 11 Midlands schools to the event that was financially supported by Warwickshire District Council and Tesco’s Leamington and Warwick.

The Festival of Running aims to motivate the children to enhance their running targets for the 2017/18 academic year.

The idea of the event is to give children the chance to run at an athletics track and give them a bigger sense of achievement. The event was filled with various running activities and those children that had run a marathon over the course of this academic year were presented with their marathon medals. All children that took part in the programme were rewarded with a certificate stating the distance they had run. In addition, shields were awarded to the school that had run the highest average distance per child and to the school that had run the furthest distance over the academic year; and a trophy went to the school that ran the most on the day.

Kids Run Free Co-founder, CEO and former athlete, Martine Verweij and Leamington Spa Deputy Mayor Heather Calver awarded the prizes to the children and schools.

Furthermore, the event was used to launch a partnership with Aspire Sports that will allow for a bigger reach into schools in the area. Both Kids Run Free and Aspire Sports have similar aims and objectives to engage children and young people in physical activity, the partnership comes as a natural progression as the charity’s aims to reach a significant bigger number of primary schools around the UK. By joining forces both partners will be concentrating their efforts in reaching more schools in the Midlands as their first target area.

Paul Griffiths, Aspire Sports Business Development Director said: “With recent research demonstrating that only half of seven-year-olds are meeting physical activity guidelines, Aspire have very ambitious plans to engage thousands of children in physical activity over the next three years. Our new partnership with Marathon Kids is a very exciting opportunity to help primary schools all over the country enhance the future health and well-being of their pupils by regular engagement of every child in physical activity.”

Martine Verweij, Kids Run Free Co-founder and CEO added: “We are delighted to be working with Aspire Sports to reach more primary schools children around the UK and inspire them to be active on a regular basis. This partnership comes at the right time as we are now ready to offer our improved programme completely free starting this September. The new improved features that we have been developing through research and testing during the past 4 years are allowing us to have more ambitious targets in the number of children we want to reach. Partnerships such as this one will give us the support needed to achieve this and what better way than our Festival of Running to launch this new venture?”

12,262 children from 63 UK schools had accepted the Nike and Kids Run Free challenge to run up to a marathon during the 2016/17 academic year. With the programme’s tested new features launching in September,  such as a new measuring framework and an interactive app to engage parents, we are looking forward to reaching many more school children during 17/18!

Read more about Aspire Sports at