Hundreds of runners have taken on Olympic silver medallist and World, European and Commonwealth Champion Iwan Thomas in a virtual 10K race from Run 4 Wales, the first in their new Virtual Challenge Series. The Healthspan ambassador clocked a time of 42:59 when he took on the 6.2 mile distance late last month, placing 18th on the leaderboard.
The new Virtual Challenge Series is providing a motivating goal and training incentive whilst major mass-participation events like the Healthspan Porthcawl 10K and Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon cannot take place – and kicked off with the ‘I Beat Iwan’ challenge throughout August.
The challenge mirrored the popular I Beat Iwan initiative that first occurred in real life, at the 2018 Barry Island 10K and 2019 Healthspan Porthcawl 10K where runners competed against British 400m record holder Thomas in a quest to earn prizes and donations to charity.
Healthspan, the UK’s number one direct supplier of vitamins and supplements have donated to the R4W Charitable Foundation (which supports grassroots sport and other community projects) for every runner that managed to beat Iwan. This coupled with donations from participants in the challenge has raised valuable funds.
These contributions will help projects such as the Welsh Schools Athletics Association, parkrun and the Run Wales social running programme at a time when the Foundation is unable to rely on the surpluses generated by Run 4 Wales events that have been called off during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthspan have also awarded a complimentary R4W Membership to the fastest 13 women and men – which will support runners throughout 2021 as they gain access to discounted race entries, training support and an enhanced event day experience.
Iwan Thomas commented: “With the usual running calendar somewhat lacking this year, this virtual event gave me the incentive I needed to stay on top of my fitness. I’m glad it inspired so many others to get involved and push themselves to log their best time possible, whilst raising money for such a good cause.”
Rhian Whitchurch, Head of Brand Marketing at Healthspan says: “It has been great to see so many people get involved in the ‘I Beat Iwan’ virtual 10K race, especially the amount of people who worked hard to beat Iwan and helped raise money towards the R4W Charitable Foundation. We do hope to see even more people running next year and Healthspan are proud to support this initiative for the third year running.”
Next up in the Run 4 Wales Virtual Challenge Series, running throughout the month of October is the I Beat Steve challenge. The virtual 5K race will challenge runners to race Cardiff Half Marathon Race Director and Olympic Marathon runner Steve Brace over the popular parkrun distance.
The former winner of Paris & Berlin Marathon’s has a 5K PB of 13:50, clocked at Battersea 5km in 1995 but after a hip replacement is more often seen in high-viz than running shorts, directing Run 4 Wales events, local races and the weekly Porthcawl parkrun. He’ll just be looking to finish as he comes out of running retirement especially for this new virtual event.
Prizes will be up for grabs for each runner that manages to Beat Steve in the event which will support the R4W Charitable Foundation, with runners able to make an optional donation or fundraise to support grassroots sports and community projects.
Entry cost just £8 and will include a commemorative finishers medal, access to the official results platform and training tips and insight from Steve who represented Britain in the marathon at the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympic Games. Entries are now open, available at http://bit.ly/iBeatSteve.