Unique virtual run for pairs aims to inspire post-lockdown challenge

Lucozade virtual 10k

Running buddies now have their very own virtual event with the introduction of the Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K on Sunday 12 September - the only event of its kind that celebrates the fun of taking on a challenge as a pair.

  • The Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K will take place on Sunday 12 September
  • Charity partner Women In Sport is supporting women to get active post-lockdown with funds raised from the event
  • Black Girls Do Run UK working to address statistics that show black women are under-represented in running and failing to meet recommended activity levels
  • Lucozade Sport ambassadors Steph Houghton OBE, England Women’s Football captain and Serena Guthrie MBE, England Netball captain, to cheer on runners
  • Triathlete, Guinness World Record holder and para-athlete Josh Landmann, and Our Parks founder and fitness coach Born Barikor lacing up for the event

Lucozade Sport ambassadors Steph Houghton OBE, England Women’s Football captain and Serena Guthrie MBE, England Netball captain, are showing their support for the hundreds of runners of all ages and abilities taking part from around the world.

Lacing up in support of the cause are triathlete, Guinness World Record holder and para-athlete Josh Landmann and Our Parks founder and fitness coach Born Barikor.

The unique event celebrates the joy of social exercise with a focus on inspiring women to take up running after research has shown the disproportionate impact the lockdown has had on women’s activity levels.

Runners have the option of donating £5 at entry towards Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K charity partner Women In Sport to boost initiatives aimed at helping women to stay active and healthy.

Figures show that women, especially those with children who are juggling home life, work and schooling, have been severely impacted by lockdown, as well as those from a black and ethnic minority background. Research by Women In Sport found that women’s activity levels declined at a much faster rate than men and are taking much longer to return to previous levels as we move out of lockdown.

A third of women said that losing their fitness would have a long-term impact, while a quarter were worried getting back into the habit of exercise post lockdown would be hard. Furthermore, 32% reported not being able to prioritise exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others.

The Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K is part of a drive to provide more options and accessibility for women to take up sport, by offering runners the opportunity to run at their own pace, anywhere in the world and at any time from 00:00 – 23:59:59 BST on Sunday 12 September. Pairs can run together or from different locations and are encouraged to set off simultaneously.

“Our lockdown research showed 40% of women are concerned about losing their fitness and its long-term impact. We also found that women see 'togetherness' a major motivator for getting active” says Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of Women in Sport.

“We are delighted to be the Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K charity partner.  It’s a great idea to use friendship as a way to help women take that first step towards the joy and fulfilment of activity.”

Scientific evidence has proven the contagious nature of exercise, with a 2017 report titled Exercise Contagion in a Global Social Network and published in the Nature Communications journal, showing that women have a positive influence on other women when it comes to running and that the exercise behaviours of your peers change the likelihood and extent to which you exercise.

The study found that women were more likely to run further and for longer if their peers did and that women performed well in same sex competitive settings, although less well when comparing themselves to men.

London-based running group Black Girls Do Run UK is proof of the positive influence that women have on each other’s exercise habits.

Founded in 2019 by Tasha Thompson, the group is aimed at inspiring black women to run and increasing representation of black women within the sport – particularly at the non-elite level. Sport England’s latest Active Lives report shows that only 48.5% of black women are meeting the recommended activity guidelines compared to 60% of all women and 59.6% of black men.

There are eight pairs from Black Girls Do Run UK taking part in the Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K and all have inspiring stories to tell – from motivating each other through difficult times, supporting each other’s mental and physical health and helping other women to make positive lifestyle changes.

“A lot of us had negative experiences of running, whether it’s from our school days being forced to run in PE, not having the correct clothing, experiencing lewd comments or feeling self-conscious running in public. Black women are also very conscious of their hair and not wanting to ruin it. Sweat doesn’t mix well with hair!” Thompson says.

“The Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K is the perfect opportunity because you don’t have that intimidation factor of running with hundreds of other people, you’re right there with your friend and you can fit it around your life. The training has been fantastic. We’re like a blended family, we support each other, cheer each other on and pick each other up. But we also hold each accountable and we don’t want to let each other down.”

All runners to log their times will receive a finisher’s medal and certificate, in addition to their Lucozade Sport race pack.

Lucozade Sport is an isotonic sports drink specifically formulated to provide carbohydrates and electrolytes to enhance hydration and help maintain performance during prolonged endurance exercise.

Lucozade Sport is working with London Marathon Events to deliver the event. Lucozade Sport is the longest serving incumbent partner of the London Marathon and is now extending its 21-year partnership of the London Marathon and Vitality Big Half with a multi-year deal from 2021 – 2023 as the official sports drink and gels provider.

Entries to the Lucozade Sport Virtual 10K are £10 per person and will remain open until run day. To enter go to http://lucozadesportvirtual10k.co.uk/