Running is a family affair for Paula Radcliffe

The marathon star’s new initiative aims to help youngsters start out in the sport

Paula Radcliffe hopes that her new Families on Track initiative will help youngsters to find a love for running that they might not otherwise have discovered.

The former world marathon record-holder was left shocked by statistics uncovered by a recent study conducted by the RunFestRun running festival and Families on Track relating to family activity, with the aim of the two events to offer opportunities for parents and their children to complete set distances in a fun and inclusive environment.

“Some of the stats that we found as part of this launch for RunFestRun showed up that only 22% of parents spend time exercising and being active with their kids but 49% would spend time watching TV with them,” Radcliffe says. “And one in six parents never exercise with their kids.

“It’s shocking, really, when you’ve grown up involved with sport and seeing all the benefits that sport can bring, at whatever level you do it.

“It’s all about encouraging families to have fun running together, exercising together and spending some quality time together as well.”

RunFestRun also encourages families to get active together with a three-day programme of runs taking place at Windsor Great Park on May 22-24 and Radcliffe will again be joined by her two children on the ‘butterfly’ team at this year’s event.

“That combination of the music and the festival with running, they were taking part in all sorts of events and loved the whole team atmosphere,” Radcliffe says.

On inspiring a new generation of runners, she adds: “I’m convinced that’s the biggest reason why we see countries like Kenya and Ethiopia have such a huge amount of running success at elite level, just because it pretty much is their national sport and it’s the sport that every kid goes into.

“Regularly (in the UK) we see people come and get their first taste of running in their late 20s or even 30s and 40s and actually find it’s something they are really good at and enjoy and wish they had found sooner.”

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