This October, Barking Riverside Limited (BRL) are inviting the people of Thames Ward to join them in a challenge to collectively run the length of the River Thames – 346KM. We want you to run or walk as far as you like, as many times as you like, and then record you distance online. If the community hits the target, then BRL will donate money to charity – simple!
As the Barking Riverside Virtual Run is being organised in partnership with Sporting Events UK, we sat down with organiser and running extraordinaire, Lawrence Hamilton-Hopkins, Running Ambassador at Sporting Events UK, and got some of his top tips for any running beginners. Here’s what he had to say:
“My number one tips is to make sure you’re wearing the right trainers. This one sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people go out wearing shoes that don’t offer them enough support. You don’t need to buy the most expensive trainers you can find, there are a number of budget brands that work just as well; you just have to make sure that you find a style that suits your walk. Most sports shops will be able to help you with this, so don’t be afraid to ask!
2. Run with a friend. Having another person to hold you accountable will keep you motivated and make the run feel more like socialising than exercising! However, in line with the current government guidance, please make sure you only run with people from your household and maintain social distancing with members of the public at all times.
3.Walk, don’t run! No first time runner will be able to get out and run a marathon straight away, so don’t push yourself too much and allow yourself to slow down and walk when you need to. In fact, slowing down can actually build strength and endurance, so you’ll find that you can go for a little bit longer on your next run, and the run after that, and so on..! A great tool to help you plan your runs is the NHS ‘Couch to 5K’ app, which gives you weekly running schedules and a virtual coach to talk you through each run.
4. Go for distance, rather than time. Keep your pace nice and slow at first, and see how far you can get, rather than how quickly you can get there. This one is especially important for the BRL Virtual Run, where the aim of the challenge is to cover as much distance as you can.
5. Last but not least – everyone can run! Don’t let your age, size or fitness level put you off. No-one is too old or too unfit to go for a run, just take it easy as you get going and you’ll be surprised how soon you notice a big improvement in your fitness level.”
The BRL Virtual Run is taking place until 24th October. To register, visit the Sporting Events UK portal. Individual prizes will be awarded to runners at the end of October for a number of categories – from furthest distance run to best selfie. Everyone taking part will get an exclusive Barking Riverside Virtual Run medal and running number.
To keep safe while you run, avoid running in the dark and stick to routes you know. In line with coronavirus guidelines, don't run with people outside of your household (unless you are in a school group ‘bubble’) and always remain at a safe distance from members of the public.
Share your running selfies with us using the hashtag #BRLVirtualRun.