Children are being given the chance to run with one of Hull’s sporting heroes this weekend as popular boxer Tommy Coyle swaps his boxing gloves for running shoes to support the Humber Bridge Half Marathon Fun Run.
The 2.5 miles ‘Stagecoach FastCat Fun Run’ takes place this Sunday, June 25, alongside the main Half Marathon and is aimed at families and young children, with many local schools and children’s sports teams often taking part.
The course follows the first two miles of the Half Marathon course and finishes adjacent to the full Half Marathon finish line, with all those taking part getting a medal for completing the course.
Now, in his role as patron of main event sponsors Hudgell Solicitors, former WBC Silver International lightweight champion Coyle has agreed to lead the way in the family event, giving kids the chance not only to meet one of their local sports heroes – but potentially beat him!
Boxer keen to inspire children to be active and enjoy sport
Tommy, who has already inspired hundreds of young people across the region to become more active by opening and running two gyms in the city which are free to under-17s, says he is delighted to take part.
“This is a great community event and one which I have supported for a number of years now, although in recent years I’ve only fired the starting pistol, and have not taken part,” he said.
“I was asked if I’d put my running trainers on this year and complete the course with the kids, and I jumped at the chance. I always believe that as sports men and women we should give something back and look to inspire the next generation. We all need someone to look up to.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a few more kids and families down to run with me, have their photographs taken and enjoy what is a great day. It’s important that we get children out of their bedrooms and introduce them to the great benefits of taking a bit of exercise.
“I know from my two gyms that they soon find it enjoyable and rewarding, which is exactly how the kids crossing the finishing line this weekend will feel.”
Jon Donnelly, Commercial Manager (North) of FastCat Fun Run sponsors Stagecoach, said: “We are delighted to have Tommy on board for what is a fantastic event every year.
“We have supported the fun run for a number of years and it is all about community spirit and people coming together to enjoy a special morning. Tommy’s involvement adds that extra excitement this year so it would be great to see many people coming down and running alongside him.”
The main Half Marathon is set to attract a record number of runners for the fourth consecutive year, and will be started by Hull 2017 City of Culture chair Rosie Millard, who will again take part wearing number 2017.
More than 2,000 runners to take part in 18th Humber Bridge Half Marathon
This year, entertainment has been added along the route, with four stages across the course and an orchestra playing at the finish line to welcome runners home.
The event, being held for the 18th time, has attracted a greater number of international runners this year, and an increased number of first-time participants from across the country
Race director John Curry, of organisers The Rotary Club of Hull said: “We are in for another wonderful day. It is fantastic to see the whole event grow year after year.
“We have seen a significant change in the entries for the Half Marathon this year, and it has been really pleasing to attract a new field of runners, with many people experiencing what is recognised as one of the UK’s best half marathons for the first time. Without doubt, Hull being City of Culture will have helped us attract new people.”
Hudgell Solicitors provides prize of a trip to Big Apple – and New York Marathon place
Once again, the prize of a trip to New York for four nights – including flights, accommodation and a place in the New York Marathon – has been provided by Hudgell Solicitors.
It will see the first five men and women finishers, and the best placed men and women from a wide range of age categories, be entered into a draw.
Neil Hudgell, managing director of Hudgell Solicitors, will again run the main event with work colleagues, and said: “Last year was the first of our three-year sponsorship of the Humber Bridge Half Marathon and it is fantastic to see that the event is growing year on year, and helping attract new people to East Yorkshire.
“The things which struck us about last year’s event was how superbly it was organised by the Rotary Clubs of Hull and Barton, the great spirt between runners, and the brilliant support from those out on the course.
“It was a tremendous event, and we are looking forward not only as sponsors, but as participants as we have a team together again for this year.”
Since launched in 1998, it has been estimated that more than £500,000 has been raised for local charities and good causes through donations and runner sponsorship.
You can still enter the 2017 Humber Bridge Half Marathon, which starts at 9am, and the Fast Cat Fun Run, by visiting www.humber-half.org.
Entries for the fun run, which starts at 9.10m, cost £5, with the Half Marathon priced at £23 for UK Athletics affiliated runners and £25 for non- affilliated runners.