DOUBLE Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell OBE hopes to inspire people to get fit and have fun by getting involved with his latest project: the Weston-Super-Half.
To be held on Sunday March 18, the inaugural Weston- Super-Half will be the only mass participation event in the world in which the runners will cross the finish-line a quarter of a mile out to sea – at the end of Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier itself.
After retiring from rowing, Cracknell became one of the world’s top endurance athletes, finishing as the highest ever Brit in the gruelling Marathon des Sables in 2010, before he was hit by a truck while crossing America for a Discovery Channel TV series. His recovery from a serious brain injury has exceeded all expectations and in April this year, aged 44, he achieved a seven-minute PB of 2:43:12 at the London Marathon after an impressive evenly-paced run.
“Running is a big part of my life – the physical and emotional benefits of getting out in the fresh air and moving our bodies have been proven time and again,” explains Cracknell. “Non-communicable diseases such as type-2 diabetes are having a huge impact on people across all communities. Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle can help stave off these diseases but it’s easier to train with a goal in mind.
“With the NHS under so much pressure, Runjoy (the organisers) want to do what we can to help individuals, but also our great country. “I started with a blank piece of paper, an inkling that Weston would make the perfect venue and a desire to create a brand new running event. This race will be fantastic. I can’t wait to run it myself!”
However, you don’t need to be an Olympian to get involved. Cracknell wants anyone wanting to get fit and have a fun weekend by the sea to take part. “It’s a largely flat, achievable course and we’ll be there every step of the way to help with advice on training, nutrition and self-care,” he says.
Setting off from Marine Parade at the Pier’s entrance, the 13.1-mile route will take participants through the historic town, enjoying the spectacular seaside sights before heading out around the picturesque Somerset villages and surrounding countryside.
The runners will head back along the Parade, cheered on by families and supporters on the beach, and into the entrance of the Grand Pier. Exhausted, but elated, they will be lifted by the final stunning views out to sea. Kerry Michael, co-owner of the Grand Pier, said: “We are delighted to be working with James Cracknell and the team at RunJoy to deliver what is set to be a spectacular one-of-a- kind event.
“The Pier will be the perfect backdrop for this race and we’re truly excited to be such key part of it. We’re so proud to be helping Weston-Super-Mare stand out in the crowd once again.”
Registration for the event, which will be hosted at the Grand Pier and start at 9.30am on March 18, more info can be found HERE. Further updates will be available via Facebook and Twitter using the handle @westonsuperhalf