The bold, new initiative launched by INEOS last year to get Britain’s children off the sofa has become a runaway success.
So many children – far from running away – have been queuing up to take part in INEOS’ Go Run For Fun events throughout the UK. The calendar is full for 2014/2015 with more than 30,000 children due to take part this year.
“These events have been extremely successful in the UK,” said Leen Heemskerk, who is leading the Go Run For Fun campaign. “We have been approached by councils, athletics clubs and schools, all wanting us to stage events.
It’s wonderful but if we are to extend the programme we need more resources. We have taken it as far as we can and we want to take it further, to even more kids but we can only do that with third party support from commercial organisations and Government.”
Since August last year, more than 15,000 children have already taken part in the INEOS-inspired mile-long runs for fun.
Melton Primary School in Suffolk hosted one of the events.
“Not only was it well organised, well run and very inclusive, but it has had such a positive impact on our pupils and has shown them that running, and being active, can be both fun and exciting,” said school sports coach Andrew Northcote.
Jim Ratcliffe, is passionate about running and this campaign.
“The idea for Go Run For Fun was born from a passion to get as many children running as possible, as early as possible,” he said.
“But the campaign is a real team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the team’s hard work and dedication. To reach the 15,000th runner milestone so soon is a sterling effort from all.”
By the end of this year, INEOS hopes to have staged 100 events in the UK. Some will be linked to major sporting events such as the Sheffield Half Marathon and the Bristol 10k, others to schools and athletic clubs.
Colin Jackson, an Olympic silver medallist, is an ambassador for Go Run For Fun.
“This has been a magical opportunity for children to try a little bit of running,” he said.
“These kids may never have tried running in their life but it may be the beginning of a sporting career because running is the basis of all sports.”
To ensure Go Run For Fun’s long-term future, INEOS is working with Nova International, which hosts the iconic Great Runs across the UK.
The ultimate aim for Go Run For Fun is for it to become the biggest kids’ running initiative in the world. “The aim is to attract 100,000 children by 2016 and we are well on target. If we can get additional support for what is already a successful campaign then there is no reason why we cannot increase this many times over,” said Leen.
Brendan Foster, a former British Olympic long-distance runner who founded the BUPA Great North Run, said he had no doubt INEOS would reach its goal.
In June, the first Go Run For Fun events will be held across the Channel near INEOS’ sites in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
“The circus is coming to town,” said Leen, the Chief Financial officer at Olefins & Polymers Europe (North).
INEOS is also extending an open invitation to its other sites around the world, including Norway, France, Italy and America, to get in touch with Go Run For Fun Project Manager Ursula Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the latest information on Go Run For Fun, visit the website at: www.gorunforfun.com