02.Jul.12 Petts Wood Runners Bring Olympic theme to Kent London
With the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in touching distance, it seemed fitting that on the weekend of the Olympic trials for spots on Team GB, that fairly new Kent based running club Petts Wood Runners - alongside the Bees Academy, would be introducing athletics to the next generations. Not knowing what to expect in providing a legacy event in the run up to the games, Petts Wood wanted to support the theme but due to the timing of the "50 days to go" event, back in April they were unable to host anything due to date clashes.
So on the 23rd June they hosted The ‘Kidz Olympics’ for young aspiring athletes with the opportunity to take part in Running races, low hurdle races, throw javelin, discus and hammer and the Tug-o-war. Willett Recreation Ground was the scene for nearly 40 children aged from 5 to 11 years. £3 per child was the requested fee with all surplus proceeds and donations going to Harris HospisCare in Orpington. With the rain holding off and the sun shining the high standard cricket green proved an ideal venue for this special showcase, underlying the fact that you don’t always need an athletics track to host an event of this nature. The Kent London network member was hosting the event alongside the Bees Academy and John Gurney (Club Secretary) was quick to state what a big support The Bees Academy team were. So pleased with the event, Petts Wood intend to host another one next year along the same sort of lines.
Petts Wood Runners is a fairly new club having started up 6 years ago, currently with a member base of 250. Meeting at a pavilion (Willett Recreation Ground) on a Tuesday night they offer 7 running groups based on speed; 17 qualified Leaders in Running Fitness, 1 Athletics Coach, 2 Assistance Coaches. With the Member base competing on the road predominantly they are starting to provide Track sessions at Norman Park in the week. As well as road races the club also takes part in Cross country and trail races.
Petts Wood joined the KLAN (the Kent London Athletics Network) 18 months ago and feels that the local network has aided them to grow and plan expansion. John Gurney said: "It’s not for every club, but I think every club would benefit from joining their local network". The current profile is 25–45 years looking for fitness and fun; and 6 people undertaking running fitness courses in an effort to add a serious and better standard of runner to compete more in the local area.
Gurney, who has been a major part of the club's expansion in recent years, explained the importance of Run England for its members. The Kent based club have 3 beginners groups. "We very much endorse what Run England is all about; getting people out of their homes, off of the sofas and into running and athletics. If they don’t want to go any further that’s fine, all we ask is they come along as we don’t charge for it but if they can join our club at the same time that gives us a boost as well as helping the community. A win-win situation really."
When asked what’s next for Petts Wood the Club Secretary replied: "To continue with providing with an attractive environment for fitness running and increase our work with the beginners' groups. We already have 2 and we want to find more new members some who have never run before or are coming back to running and increase their standard. We plan to target younger persons, 18-25, taking part in athletics before, or played other sports just like football, rugby tennis a contact the local gyms and clubs and say ‘Send your members down to us so we can improve their fitness’..."
Sunday the 14th October will see the 6th Petts Wood 10k Race which was voted the best 10k in the country in 2010 by Runners World. This year’s event will be run over the award winning course once again. For more information on the 10k please visit www.pettswoodrunners.co.uk/page/petts-wood-10k-information
Photos from the 'Kidz Olympics Day' can be found here: http://photobucket.com/PettsWoodRunners
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