Runners from all over the country are gearing up to take part in an annual Kingston race, which is expected to attract up to 4,000 participants.
The Whole Foods Market Breakfast Run is now entering its fifteenth annual year and will see thousands of runners, some from as far as the United States of America and Sweden , drawn to the area on the morning of April 1.
Event organisers Human Race said that the run, which starts and ends in Kingston’s historic marketplace via Hampton Court, was an excellent opportunity for people of all abilities to have fun, get fit, and raise money for charity in the process.
Louis Clark, of Human Race, said: “This is the fifteenth time we have run the Breakfast Run and it looks like it will be bigger than last year.
“Lots of people come down to support and make a real day of it. It is great for us that the local people are so supportive – we are really grateful to them.
Over 3,000 people are already confirmed for the event – which also attracts a large number of spectators to the area – with up to 1,000 more people expected to register. Organisers said that the race includes runners from a wide range of abilities, and those wishing to attempt the course in fancy dress were also welcome to do so.
Richard Bunje, a 52-year-old wine merchant from Kingston, is taking part in the Breakfast Run for the first time, and is aiming to raise at least £500 for local charity Momentum. He said: “An event like this is really great for the area.
“I used to play rugby but over the years sport has not featured heavily in my itinerary, so it is a good way of getting fit again.
“[Momentum] is an excellent charity and a very good cause. It gives you motivation to know you are doing it for someone else.”
Organisers say that the Breakfast Run is growing year on year, with Whole Foods is sponsoring the event for the second time.
The natural and organic foods retailer – which has plans to open two stores in the South West London area – said that each of its outlets collects money for a local charitable cause, with the run acting as an extension of its beliefs.
A spokesperson said: “It is very much one of our core values to work with local groups – we want to get involved.
“[The event] is about charitable giving and local community work,” adding: “We think it’s a really good way of getting everybody out in the spring sunshine.”
30 Whole Foods employees are also due to take part in the event, with each raising a minimum of £100 to go towards the company’s charitable branch Whole Planet Foundation. The company also sets up a stall in the market square on the day of the event and presents each runner with a free goody bag.
Phil Wicks, a long-distance runner and hopeful Olympian who holds the men’s records for both the 8.2 mile and 16 mile distance, believes the Breakfast Run has an excellent course. He said: “It is really well supported – you get a lot of family and friends,” adding: “It is a fantastic course and has some fantastic scenery.”
Those interested in registering to take part in the event – which starts at 8am on Sunday April 1 – can apply online here. The deadline for applicants is at 9pm on March 26, but organisers warn that all places could be filled by then.