Described as “the Worlds most scenic Marathon”, the Richmond Running Festival, returning this September, takes place across London’s greenest borough (Richmond) passing through Thames River, Ham House, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) and even inside Hampton Court Palace!
The two day event offers something for everyone with a variety of races that include; Kew Gardens 10k, Richmond Half Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Kids’ Mile races and brand new to this year, the Richmond Sundown 5K.
Last week, we interviewed Tom Bedford, Race Director for the Richmond Running Festival about his offering for children and how he ensures a running legacy!
How many children take part in your event?
We are expecting a record number of over 1,000 children.
What is on offer to them?
We give these little feet the full adult experience. Chip timing, individual age groups and separate boys/ girls events, a Nike t-shirt, a running number and an amazing medal (check the website).
Have you seen an increase year on year?
We have and this will be the first year where we will not be selling entries on race day as we will be selling out before the event.
What would you put your growth down to?
Happy returning children and more importantly parents! We have seen the same kids who have ran our event for the last 6 years! We have literally watched them grow into young running teens. It is also fun to watch our winners continue their success throughout the year. Some parents keep us updated on social media saying things like “@richmondrunfest you’ve created a running monster!”
Do you have any specific strategies when working with Juniors?
It might be a bit corny but it’s all about having fun. Yes we have nervous kids on the start line wanting to be the next Mo Farah but we make sure the kids at the back get the same ‘high-fiving experience’ when they cross the line. The other strategy is the be well organised with experienced staff (mainly teachers and security staff who have children) because over worried parents is contagious!
Can you name a favourite moment?
Last year we added a disability kids 500m event. Our event is on grass and I was worried when a child with a walking frame turned up because I’m thinking it’s not the smoothest surface. Boy was I wrong. This child did not finish last and there was not a dry eye at the finish line. That boy was so inspirational!
What would you say to parents thinking about entering their child?
This event is about making running and exercise fun. Many of our own experiences of running at school are from cold cross country PE lessons. These were so uninspiring. We make running fun and in turn teaches endurance and perseverance which are the key lessons of life. Enter your child for a great family day out but I’d like to challenge them further and use our event as an introduction into preparation (training) and bouncing back from disappointment (losing). Running is a very cost effective sport so have some fun with obstacle training sessions in the garden over the summer or taking them to a local kids parkrun or local running club before race-day!
The Richmond Running Festival has launched a brand new race this year — The Richmond Sundown 5k. Starting at 7pm on Saturday 14th September, runners are invited to walk/jog/run and party as they watch the sun go down!
To find out more and to book yourself a place, visit: https://racecheck.com/races/richmond-sundown-5k-richmond-runfest/
Racecheck is a web and app community helping recreational athletes find, book and plan great endurance events through the power of race reviews, while also helping organisers promote their races to a highly relevant audience.