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Black community encouraged to take up running

STRONGER TOGETHER: African participants at this year’s Vitality Big Half back in March

THE BLACK community is being encouraged to take part in next year’s Vitality Big Half.

Created by the organisers of the London Marathon, The Vitality Big Half is a world-class running event that supports and encourages first-time runners to take part.

London’s community half marathon is on Sunday, March 10 and starts by Tower Bridge and finishes at the iconic Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

It is a chance for those that take part to be inspired by some of the world’s best athletes and the thousands of participants of all ages, abilities and backgrounds as they run the scenic 13.1 mile course through the capital.

A spokesperson for organisers London Marathon Events Ltd told the Voice of Sport: “If this is your first half marathon you’ll get support every step of the way from the cheering crowds and live music entertainers along the route.

“We recognise that London’s running events don’t reflect the communities they run through. We want our running events to bring together Londoners of all backgrounds.

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“The Vitality Big Half is a community running festival with distances for everyone, no matter your age, background or running ability.”

The Big Half is an opportunity for more people to experience the health benefits of running - from weight loss and lowered blood pressure to stress management and better quality of sleep. There’s also a chance for more people to experience a sense of achievement from crossing the finish line.

Last year’s event saw some 11,504 participants. Almost a quarter (2,985) of them were from the host boroughs (Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Tower Hamlets) with a 50:50 male and female split and some 209 charities.

Hamid Vaghefian, community engagement manager of The Vitality Big Half, said: “In 2018 we worked with a range of people from the African community through African Nations Cup UK (a tournament which engages young people and the African community each year in an international event).

“Nationalities engaged through The Vitality Big Half included Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Nigeria, Somaliland, Kenya among others.

“We worked to support team managers and community organisations working with ANC UK to access £10 community places, and engaged them in a series of consultations to help engage more people from the African diaspora in London.”

General entries for The Vitality Big Half are now available to purchase at thebighalf.co.uk

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