Sporting heroes launch Bupa Westminster Mile
Thousands of runners will take to the streets of Westminster this summer during an all-inclusive sports event backed by Paralympic super-star David Weir.
The Bupa Westminster Mile, announced today (Monday 21 January), is a series of mile-long races for all ages and abilities on Sunday 26 May 2013, in the historic heart of London.
Westminster City Council is working jointly with London Marathon Limited and Bupa to deliver the event which forms a key part of the council’s long-term Olympic and Paralympic legacy.
Returning to The Mall where he won his fourth gold medal during last summer’s Paralympics, David Weir said: “To deliver a real legacy, Paralympic sport needs high-profile inclusive events like this which can inspire more people to get involved in sport.
“The beauty of the Bupa Westminster Mile is it’s a one-mile road race, making it accessible to everyone of all ages and abilities.”
Across more than twenty different categories, the event is aimed at competitors of all ages and abilities across the country. This will include races for junior and senior wheelchair users as well as visually impaired athletes in the T11-13 categories.
The range of races will see first-time runners aged as young as nine racing on the same day as the elite category which is expected to attract some of the top athletes in the UK.
The route will take entrants along the historic Mall, site of the start and finish line of the London 2012 Olympic marathon, before heading around the edge of St James’s Park in heart of Central London. The race, supported by The Royal Parks, will showcase Britain at its best in a stunning backdrop before finishing outside Buckingham Palace.
It is hoped the competition will attract more than 5,000 entrants in its first year with a view to it becoming a regular fixture in the national sporting calendar. The Bupa Westminster Mile will also act as the official UK Road Mile Age Group Championship and sponsorship contracts from adidas will be awarded to the winners of the junior and senior races.
Entry for the event is now open and people can register online by visitingwww.bupawestminstermile.co.uk.
Cllr Steve Summers, Westminster City Council’s lead member for sport and leisure, said:
“This is a golden opportunity to create a lasting sporting legacy not just in London but across the whole country – events like the Bupa Westminster Mile will cement sport in the hearts of the nation for years to come.
“We are still basking in the afterglow of the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games ever but we must keep that momentum going and Westminster has worked hard to promote a variety of programmes which will ensure that a lasting sporting legacy is realised.
“Youngsters running along this iconic route will be inspired and this event could well produce the next Mo Farah or Kelly Holmes.”
Race director Hugh Brasher said: “The London Marathon is delighted to be working with Westminster City Council and Bupa to deliver the Bupa Westminster Mile.
“Britain has an amazing heritage in ‘The Mile’, with Sir Roger Bannister being the first person to run under 4 minutes and more latterly his mantle as world record holder being taken up in the 1980’s by Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, and Steve Cram.
“We believe that this exciting new event, can carry on the great work that London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games did to inspire a generation, by providing the competition and iconic venue to deliver on that commitment.”
Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, Chief Medical Officer at Bupa, said:
“Bupa’s purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives, which is why we’re passionate about inspiring people to get moving and active. We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Bupa Westminster Mile, as it gives everyone the chance to get involved, no matter what their age or ability.
“We’ve pledged to help 60 million people to make positive changes to their lifestyle by 2015. Our sponsorship of the Bupa Westminster Mile is one of the ways we can achieve this, by hopefully paving the way for a lifetime’s participation in sport for thousands of children and adults.”