Healthspan ambassador and World, European and Commonwealth Champion and Olympic silver medallist, Iwan Thomas has thrown his support behind a new Run 4 Wales Virtual Challenge Series, designed to provide the running community with a motivating goal or incentive to train whilst major mass-participation events like the Cardiff Half Marathon cannot take place.
The series will kick off this August with a virtual version of the popular ‘I Beat Iwan’ initiative that captured the imagination of the running community at the Healthspan Porthcawl 10K in 2019 and the Barry Island 10K in 2018.
The virtual 10K race will give runners the opportunity to compete against Healthspan ambassador and the British 400m record holder Iwan Thomas – whatever their worldwide location.
Entry costs just £8 and includes a commemorative finishers medal, access to the live results platform and training advice from Run 4 Wales partner Healthspan. Those signed up to the R4W Membership Scheme can enter for free.
There’s certainly an incentive to run as fast as you can – as Healthspan will donate £5 to the R4W Charitable Foundation (which supports grassroot sports and other community projects) for every runner that manages to beat Iwan – who ran 48:16 at the Barry Island 10K in 2018 and 48:58 at the Healthspan Porthcawl 10K last year.
The UK’s number one direct supplier of vitamins and supplements will also provide a free R4W Membership for 2021 to the top 25 finishers.
The event can be enjoyed by runners of all fitness levels. It not only appeals to those wanting to earn bragging rights by running in the same virtual race as an Olympian, but also new runners, offering them a taster of what being part of an event is all about whilst having a 10K training goal to focus on.
The participation window for the challenge will be open throughout the month of August, with runners able to submit their finish time anytime between 1st and 31st. In the lead up runners can enjoy access to exclusive training content, nutritional advice and video updates from Iwan Thomas himself.
As the participation window closes, Iwan’s finish time will be revealed and runners will be able to compare their own efforts against the European and Commonwealth Gold Medallist.
Rhian Whitchurch, Head of Brand Marketing at Healthspan says: “We are very much looking forward to working with Run 4 Wales again and being part of this fun virtual initiative which is a great way for all abilities of runners to get involved. Our team of experts enjoy the challenge of providing nutritional support and advice to the runners so they can achieve their goals, Of course, we are excited to see how many people can beat Iwan’s time. We wish everyone all the best.”
Iwan Thomas commented: “It’s been a challenging year for athletes with so many events getting postponed or cancelled. Because so many sports, clubs and gyms have had to close, there has been a real resurgence of running, to get in your daily exercise. So whether you’re new to running, or a professional athlete, get involved in this first of a kind virtual event and help raise money for charity.”
Entries are now open, available here. You can log your run 10K (6.2 mile) run anytime between 1-31 August as long as you submit your supporting evidence by midnight on 31 August. Evidence can include screenshots from tracking apps like Strava or MapMyRun or pictures of GPS trackers or gym equipment showing you have covered the race distance.
The I Beat Iwan race will be the first in a three race Challenge Series, with more details on upcoming events due to be announced soon. The series will support the R4W Charitable Foundation, usually funded by the surpluses generated by Run 4 Wales events like the Cardiff Half Marathon. Runners will have the opportunity to make an optional donation to or fundraise for the foundation which supports and awards funding to grassroot sport and other community projects.
Since 2012, it has provided funding to the Welsh Schools Athletics Association (creating District, National and International Competition opportunities for school-age athletes) and Run Wales (Welsh Athletics’ social running programme) – supporting with the creation of over 100 social running groups and 48 parkrun events across Wales. It’s also provided race entries and training support to over 1,000 first time runners – through initiatives aiming to make positive contributions to diversity, gender equality, physical and mental health.