- First London athletics club to offer regular RaceRunning session opens in Waltham Forest
- Donations enable national charity Access Sport to purchase three RaceRunners for weekly sessions at the Waltham Forest Wolves Athletics Club, in Walthamstow.
Young Londoners with disabilities are now able to experience the thrill of running independently on new RaceRunning bikes.
Members of the Waltham Forest Wolves Athletics Club, which provides weekly track and field training sessions for youngsters with disabilities and additional needs, will now be able to take part in RaceRunning every Sunday morning, after the national charity Access Sport secured funding for the new frames.
Local physiotherapist Ellie Barton who works with children with neurodevelopment conditions introduced the concept of RaceRunning to Access Sport and the athletics club last year. The activity allows participants unable to walk independently to experience the joy of running by using an adapted frame. Currently the sport is not part of the Paralympic Games but there is a campaign to have it included in the 2024 games. Following a successful trial of RaceRunning last summer, the Waltham Forest Wolves and Access Sport have been seeking funding to buy five RaceRunners and secure storage at Waltham Forest Feel Good Centre.
After receiving £2,000 from the Leyton and Woodford Rotary Club and £4,000 from the Bruce Wake Charitable Trust, Access Sport bought three of the specially adapted frames.
Ellie said: “RaceRunning is great as all youngsters can access the sport no matter their physical ability. For a lot of the children I support and for children with disabilities in the local area RaceRunning is the only opportunity they have to move independently.
“The frames are expensive and bulky so they are not easy to buy and store. They work best on a flat surface so the athletics track is the perfect place to come and also have the opportunity to meet and run alongside their peers, friends and family.”
Waltham Forest Council’s Enjoy Waltham Forest programme has supported the club by commissioning bikehangar provider Cycle Hoop to create the country’s first secure specially adapted storage for the frames and install it right beside the athletics track where the club trains in Walthamstow.
On Sunday 13 May members of Waltham Forest Wolves AC got to try out their new RaceRunners for the first time.
Councillor Naheed Asghar, cabinet member for health and voluntary sector partnerships, added: “In Waltham Forest we want to ensure that everyone can experience the thrill of sports no matter their ability. I’m so excited that our youngsters are the first to experience RaceRunning at their club every week and hope that these bikes will help those who never dared hope to walk, to run and enjoy being independently active.”
Anthony Lau, managing director of Cyclehoop, added: “Waltham Forest Wolves AC are the first to have an adapted Bikehangar installed in the UK. It is an important step in breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive sporting culture. We look forward to continuing to work with Waltham Forest Council on new products that offer people with limited mobility, access to secure parking for their adapted bikes whether in private clubs or outside their homes.”
Access Sport has now received further funding from the L&Q Fund which will enable them to purchase another two bikes and further support the development of the club.