Virtual Running Benefits

Virtual Running Benefits

The period of lockdown resulting from the pandemic has changed the look and feel of many parts of our day to day life, including hobbies, activities and so much more.

This is also true for running, where many large events have opted to go virtual instead of being delivered in person.

But running virtually can be a great thing, allowing runners a tangible goal during an uncertain time – as well as grabbing some goodies along the way!

We’ve put together our list of the top 4 benefits of running virtually.

1. New Motivation

Let’s face it; motivation during the past 12 months has been harder to come by than usual. Not knowing what the future holds has had a real impact on our way of living, socialising, exercising – everything.

So having a virtual event to look forward to can be hugely important to your motivation levels. Being able to set a goal and follow a training schedule gives you something to aim for and can help create good habits, even after the event is over. Virtual running actually produces two really important aspects for effective behavioural change – accountability and incentive.

2. You’re in Charge

One of the best things about a virtual event – you’re in charge! You get to decide what your event day run looks and feels like. Do you want to breathe in nature? Go for it. Want to jog around your local park 10 times? Why not. Want to run laps around your garden? Be our guest. The only thing you need to worry about is completing the distance of your chosen event, the rest is up to you.

3. Community Feeling

Even though we won’t be together in person, that doesn’t we won’t be together in spirit! Unfortunately, guidelines have dictated over the last 12 years that crowds should be avoided. So when else will you be able to join other like-minded runners, all trying to achieve a similar goal?! As soon as you put your race number on and head out the front door on your event day, you join the #bigfunrun family and become part of something much bigger.

4. Swag

If we’re being honest with ourselves, one of the best things about running an event is the kit you receive afterwards. If you don’t Instagram the medal once you’re finished, did you even run the race?!

But completing a virtual run is a huge accomplishment in itself, and you deserve to have that achievement commemorated with some great goodies.

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It’s time to put the kettle on

It’s time to put the kettle on

Just milk, no sugar please.

It’s safe to say that home workouts have rocketed over the past few months with many people working from home and gyms being closed. Sales of kettlebells have gone through the roof, but how do you put them to best use for your running training? 

Research has found that kettlebell training significantly boosts aerobic capacity, improves core strength and dynamic balance. This simple piece of equipment can develop muscular endurance, strength, power and cardiovascular capacity – all of which contribute to making you a better runner.

We’ve detailed some exercises below which you can incorporate into your home workout routine.

1. Squats

Squats are brilliant for building up the quads, hamstrings & glutes – muscles which all runners use in abundance! 

Hold the kettlebell in both hands and squat until your elbows touch your knees. Only go as low as is comfortable, control the movement up and down, and don’t rush! The more controlled the movement, the better.

Set: 3 sets of 15 reps (1-min rest between sets)

2. Swings

Swings help to build strength in the hips – which we know causes problems for a lot of runners. 

Make sure the kettlebell is at shoulder level, and remember to squeeze your glutes at the top of the swing.

Set: 2 sets of 50 swings (1-min rest between sets)

3. Single leg deadlift

This is a challenging exercise as it requires good core strength as well as balance/coordination, however the benefits to the hips, hamstrings and glutes are incredible, especially for runners.

Set: 3 sets of 10 reps

Not sure which weight of kettlebell you need?

If you can, get to the gym and experiment with the above exercises to see what feels right. If after 10 swings you’re really struggling, you’ve gone too heavy and vice-versa, if you finish them with ease then you’ve gone too light. You want to be able to complete all the sets and all the reps, but for those final reps to be hard work.

As a guide, a good starter weight for these exercises for women is 6-8 kg, and for men is 14-16 kg, but it really is down to the individual and what works best for you.

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Five Reasons Why We Love Spring


After what seems like an eternity of cold, dark, wintry days and nights, there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel – spring is firmly in sight! But what does this mean for us Big Fun Runners? Here are five reasons we love spring…

1. Calm after the storm
A wise man once said: “You never appreciate Spring until you’ve been through a tough Winter.” – and it’s the months of battling inclement conditions that makes the longer days, lighter nights and increasing temperatures all the more sweet when they finally come around.

2. Combine work and play
This is a great time to dust away those cobwebs and build some training into your daily commute to get more active on a daily basis. Why not make use of the longer days by integrating cycling or running into your journey and watch your fitness gradually move to the next level?

3. More mac, less mill
While treadmills make a great alternative to outdoor running when winter really bites, there’s no substitute for running in the great outdoors. The changing of the seasons is a great time to get out in the fresh spring air and explore new routes around your local area with your running buddy!

4. Time to Train
Spring marks the start of the running events calendar. So whether you’ve got a 5k, 10k or any other challenge event planned that you are looking ahead to, it’s the perfect time to kick start some training and in no time you will be harvesting the fruits of your labour, scooping up some well deserved medals and most importantly some memories that will last a lifetime!

5. Flower like a spring pansy
It’s time for you to come into your own, just like a spring flower. Once you’ve been motivated to get moving and your confidence grows, be prepared to blossom with pride at your progress.

A Big Fun Run 5K is the perfect event to aim for in 2018. Whether you’re running for fitness, fun, or to fundraise for a fantastic cause, there’s something for everyone! With 20 events taking place across the UK, find your local one at www.bigfunrun.com.

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Regan’s Fun Run for the National Autistic Society


Regan Brentnall, 6, from Brimington, was inspired after his mum Natalie took part in Ashgate Hospices’ Sparkle Walk.

“Regan wanted to do something for charity the way I did. We found Big Fun Run which seemed perfect for Regan and also meant his little sister Kennedy could join in too” Mum Natalie explained.

Regan has autism and is fundraising to raise money for the National Autistic Society by taking part in the 5K Big Fun Run at Markeaton Park on Saturday 11th August.

Big Fun Run attracts people of all shapes, sizes and ages. No event is timed, it is all about participants having fun and raising funds for a charity close to their heart.

“Regan doesn’t know what autism is and he also doesn’t know that he has autism. It’s never been the right time to tell him because he wouldn’t have understood” Natalie said.

The National Autistic Society are the leading UK charity for people with autism and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services and campaign for a better world for autistic people.

After a friend mentioned Regan’s autism to him whilst playing a game, Natalie realised she had to find a way to discuss his condition with him in a way Regan could relate to and process.

“Him raising money for National Autistic Society at Big Fun Run is our way of helping him understand. He’s learning about the people he’s supporting and as the money he is raising is increasing, he’s getting more excited about helping these special people with Autism” Natalie said.

“When the time is right, we can tell him that he is one of those special, unique, kind, caring and different people”.

Regan’s autism impacts his daily life in a number of ways including his speech and relationships with friends.

“He can now speak perfectly but he struggles to communicate as effectively as other children his age. He also struggles to attach meaning to most things in his vocabulary and gets into conflict with his friends because of this which gets him worked up and frustrated” Natalie said.

“Every single person on the spectrum is different in their own unique and magical way and I want the ability to teach him that”.

“Regan is so sweet and kind and sees the good in everybody. He’s always giving us [his family] reasons to be proud of him and the fact he is doing this is another.”

“Hopefully after we complete this journey finding out he also has autism isn’t something he is confused by and instead is something he can celebrate!”.

The Big Fun Run promises a fun, relaxed atmosphere and is the perfect challenge to set yourself in 2018. To find out more about the 2018 Series and find events near you, visit www.bigfunrun.com.

To read more about Regan’s story and support his fundraising, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/regan-kennedydothebigfunrun

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Sponsored Scoot for Motor Neurone Disease Association


6 years ago, Alison Pickard, 61, from Retford’s life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

“I was 55 when I was diagnosed. We felt as though our world had fallen apart especially a few months later when our daughter announced she was expecting our first grandchild, I could only think that I would not live to enjoy grandparent-hood.”

Motor Neurone Disease is a degenerative condition that affects the brain and nerves. Over time, it causes weakness and loss of function in arms, legs, speech, ability to swallow and, eventually, breathing. There is a 1 in 300 chance of getting MND and there is no cure.

“It’s been difficult losing friends I have made who have MND but deteriorated more quickly than me. I have several more friends who are now cruelly limited by this horrendous disease”.

Alison decided to do something positive and say thank you to the charity who have supported her throughout the years following her diagnosis and has signed up to complete 5k at Big Fun Run in Rother Valley Country Park on Sunday 12th August.

“I will be taking part on my mobility scooter because MND long since took away my ability to run” Alison explained.

Big Fun Run events are the perfect way for the local community to fundraise for a cause they really care about.

Having received contact details for the Motor Neurone Disease Association after visiting Sheffield Hallamshire Hospitals’ specialist MND Centre, Alison reached out to them for support.

“I was visited at home by one of the Regional MNDA Care Coordinators who was absolutely lovely and really made us feel much less alone with my diagnosis”.

“We now attend the local support group through which we have met other people living with MND and there is a dedicated helpline available”.

“When I bought my mobility scooter the MNDA gave me a sizeable contribution towards the cost. In short, I basically cannot imagine coping without MNDA” Alison said.

Big Fun Run attracts people of all shapes, sizes and ages. No event is timed, it is all about participants having fun and raising funds for a charity close to their heart.

Alison has never taken part in a fun run before and explained “I thought it would be nice to do some fundraising for MNDA and give something back. I saw the Big Fun Run advertised and decided to give it a go!”.

“As I tend to be known by my grandchildren as “Scooter Grandma” I’m looking forward to the Big Fun Run and living up to my name”.

The Big Fun Run promises a fun, relaxed atmosphere and is the perfect challenge to set yourself in 2018. To find out more about the 2018 Series and find events near you, visit www.bigfunrun.com.

To read more about Alison’s story and donate, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alison-pickard

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Colleagues 5K Challenge for Children with Cancer


A group of 7 colleagues from Charities Aid Foundation in Kent are completing 5k together at Big Fun Run in Mote Park on Saturday 4th August in aid of Children with Cancer UK.

2 year old Imogen Montague was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in June 2018 and a group of mum Kelly’s friends and colleagues have rallied together in support.

“Imogen has been such a tough little cookie and is dealing with all that’s thrown at her amazingly” family friend Vikki Denny explained.

“Life is pretty much on hold for Imogen and her family for the next 2 years until her treatment is over. Kelly hasn’t been working since Imogen’s diagnosis and her brother Brody is feeling the impact as Kelly needs to spend a lot of her time caring for Imogen”.

Vikki and her colleagues decided to do something positive and entered Big Fun Run to raise money for Children with Cancer UK.

Big Fun Run events are the perfect way for the local community to fundraise for a cause they really care about.

“After finding out about Imogen’s diagnosis we couldn’t imagine how her family were feeling and really wanted to do something to help other children and families in this situation” Vikki said.

Big Fun Run attracts people of all shapes, sizes and ages. No event is timed, it is all about participants having fun and raising funds for a charity close to their heart.

“Our team have been going on regular walks and jogging both during lunch breaks and outside of work”.

With an original target of £250, Vikki and her colleagues have smashed their fundraising and so far raised an amazing £1070 to date.

“We are raising this money for Children with Cancer UK in honour of beautiful and brave children like Imogen”.

The Big Fun Run promises a fun, relaxed atmosphere and is the perfect challenge to set yourself in 2018. To find out more about the 2018 Series and find events near you, visit www.bigfunrun.com.

To read more about Imogen’s story and donate, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vikkidenny-2018bigfunrunmaidstone245

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Big Fun Run 5K Series Returns in 2018!


After the success of the Big Fun Run Series last year, the events are set to return in 2018 and are promised to be bigger and better than ever!

Taking place from July – October and set in some of the most scenic parks throughout the UK, the 5K events are aimed at all members of the family with FREE entry for children under 5.

With 3 brand new events added to this years’ line-up in Eastbourne, Gateshead and Middlesbrough, the 20 event-long series begins down in the South Coast in Brighton on 14th July and then makes its way throughout the UK. Locations include Scotland, the North West, North East, Midlands and South East before finishing in London with a Halloween-themed run in Victoria Park on 28th October.

Big Fun Run events are the perfect way for runners to fundraise for a cause they really care about. Last year, over £220,000 was raised for charity and the series is brilliantly supported by hundreds of charities all throughout the UK.

Mike Womack from Lymm took part in last years Manchester event at Heaton Park alongside “Anderson’s Army” – an approximately 100 strong group of friends and family in memory of his wife Sophie who past away aged 33 after a brave battle with Bowel Cancer in March 2017.

After Sophie’s passing, Anderson’s Army decided to do something positive to remember her and aimed to raise money for two charities close to Sophie’s heart: Beating Bowel Cancer and The Christie. With an initial target of £5,000 the team have raised a staggering £9,300 to date.

“A 5K is a great distance which everyone can get involved with” Mike said. “There was a complete mixture of running abilities with us on the day from friends who have ran marathons to Sophie’s dad, Keith, who has taken up running at 69 specifically for Big Fun Run and done amazingly well with his training. There was also a good number of friends walking with children and every ability in between all of these.”

“Sophie was an inspiration to us all in the way she remained so positive throughout her treatment. We all miss her every day.”

Big Fun Run Event Director, Neil Kilgour said: “Tens of thousands of people take part in Big Fun Run every year, it attracts people of all shapes, sizes and ages. No event is timed, it is all about having fun and raising funds for a charity close to your heart.

“Each run has a friendly atmosphere whilst offering an achievable challenge”.

“It is a great event for all the family and it is not unusual to see grandma, mum and daughter all lining up together at the startline. We also have many people taking part in fancy dress to add to the feel good atmosphere.”

The Big Fun Run promises a fun, relaxed atmosphere and is the perfect challenge to set yourself in 2018. To find out more about the 2018 Series and find events near you, visit www.bigfunrun.com.

The 2018 Big Fun Run events are:

  • Brighton – 14th July 2018
  • Southampton – 15th July 2018
  • Leeds – 21st July 2018
  • Nottingham – 22nd July 2018
  • Glasgow – 28th July 2018
  • Edinburgh – 29th Luly 2018
  • Maidstone – 4th August 2018
  • Eastbourne *New for 2018* – 5th August 2018
  • Derby – 11th August 2018
  • Sheffield – 12th August 2018
  • Manchester – 18th August 2018
  • Liverpool – 19th August 2018
  • Ipswich – 1st September 2018
  • Milton Keynes – 2nd September 2018
  • Birmingham – 8th September 2018
  • Coventry – 9th September 2018
  • Gateshead *New for 2018* – 20th October 2018
  • Middlesbrough *New for 2018* – 21st October 2018
  • London Crystal Palace Park – 27th October 2018
  • London Victoria Park – 28th October 2018
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#GivingTuesday – A Global Movement


We’re grateful, humbled and proud that our event provides a fundraising platform for so many runners each year. Every act of generosity counts, and each means even more when we give together.

Sean McAllister ran this year for our official charity partner Cancer Research UK, here is his story:

‘Cancer is a subject very close to my heart. When I lost my dad, I lost my best friend. It’s a horrible illness and I would like to do anything I can to prevent others going through what my dad, myself and my family went through during his illness.

At the beginning the prognosis was positive, as they believed the cancer was only in the prostate. A further scan showed something the doctor described as “suspicious” on his liver. But they focussed on treating the prostate, initially with hormone treatment and later with chemotherapy, resolving to revisit the liver after the chemotherapy was complete.

My dad only managed three sessions of chemo and there were further complications. His health went downhill rapidly and sadly throughout his illness he was in a lot of pain. When tests showed it was terminal the doctor said he had possibly six to eight weeks, but he died seven days later at home surrounded by his family.

This year was my first experience of fundraising, but I am looking to do more in the future. I felt a lot of pride running so close to the passing of my dad. It was a great way to remember him; the devoted, hardworking, family man.’

Cancer Research UK is dedicated to finding kinder, more effective treatments for cancer. If you’ve been inspired, why not make your next challenge really count by signing up to run for charity at a Big Fun Run near you in 2018 when entries open. Click here to find out more.

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Family take on fun run together to help beat best friend Catriona’s cancer

Family take on fun run together to help beat best friend Catriona’s cancer

Katy Rogerson, her husband Steve and their two children Jessica, aged 9 and Benjamin, aged 6 are taking part in Big Fun Run Crystal Palace this weekend to raise money for family friend Catriona’s cancer treatment.

Katy and Catriona have been best of friends for nearly 25 years and have remained close ever since they met back when they were teenagers.

Catriona lives in Ireland with her husband Jon and has 4 children aged between 10 months and 8 years old. Aged only 37, Catriona suffers from aggressive osteoporosis which has resulted in her developing serious spinal fractures after a complication during one of her pregnancies. As well as a blood clot on her lung Catriona has devastatingly found out she has cancer with a large tumor growing rapidly on her kidney.

Catriona’s family and friends are rallying together to raise funds to help her complete life-saving treatment in Germany and hopefully save her kidney. The treatment Catriona requires is currently unavailable in the UK.

“Catriona doesn’t focus on her problems and continues on with a positive attitude. She is always smiling and is a great Mum to her lovely children. She has always been there for me over the years and is an amazing friend. I would do anything for her and this little bit of fundraising I can do will really help” Katy explained.

The Rogerson’s wanted to do something together as a family and they love spending time at Crystal Palace Park making Big Fun Run an ideal fundraising challenge for them.

Reflecting on their 5k challenge Katy said: “This is quite a big challenge for us as we are a family who loves staying at home and watching films. We have been doing a little training trying to get more active by visiting our local green space, outdoor gym and taking the kids out on their bikes to prepare for the challenge. To all those who would do anything for their best friend, we would be so grateful for your help”.

You can support The Rogerson’s fundraising for Catriona’s cancer treatment here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/katyrogerson

To read more about Catriona’s story visit: https://www.gofundme.com/help-my-mammy-get-well

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Team FMI

Team FMI

Shout out to Team FMI who completed Big Fun Run Milton Keynes to raise money for our Official Charity Partner Cancer Research UK whilst having lots of fun along the way!

FMI are a small brand engagement agency with a fantastic close knit team of people. Sadly earlier this year FMI’s Finance Manager Kathryn and Event Director Dave’s wife Emma, were both diagnosed with breast cancer. Team FMI took part in Big Fun Run to raise funds to continually invest in curing cancer and support their fellow colleague and friend during this difficult time.

Operations Director Clare explained: “Kathryn has shown tremendous strength and courage following numerous surgeries – she is currently undergoing chemotherapy so sadly couldn’t be here with us today, but she was in our thoughts, alongside Emma, as we sweated it out to cross the finish line!”

Leading up to the event, Team FMI have been busy keeping active in preparation for their fun 5K including spinning classes and swimming, to long walks with their dogs over fields and the the odd jog about town.

“As a team, we’re a fantastic mix from an individual who have completed half marathons, to someone who swears she can’t breathe when she runs – we are definitely a group of mixed abilities fitness wise but were all determined and committed to crossing the finish line together” said Clare.

Join us in wishing Team FMI a big well done! To support Team FMI’s fundraising efforts for CRUK visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fmilimited

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