Vitality Westminster Mile celebrates milestone anniversary as Olympic legacy event
- 2023 edition on Saturday 23 September marks 10 years since first event in 2013
- Event Director Hugh Brasher says events like Vitality Westminster Mile are now “more important than ever”
The Vitality Westminster Mile celebrates its 10th anniversary on Saturday 23 September and Event Director Hugh Brasher says the event is now “more important than ever”.
One of the most successful of the 2012 Olympic legacy events, the Westminster Mile has seen nearly 50,000 participants of all ages and abilities run, jog, walk or be pushed a mile in the event since 2013 on the iconic route which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.
The success of the event over the past decade comes amid worrying statistics on activity levels of children and young people and for Brasher it is crucial to capitalise on the springboard offered by events such as the Vitality Westminster Mile to ensure the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics will not be diminished.
A report in December 2022 from Sport England found that 53 per cent of children were not meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of taking part in an average of 60 minutes or more of sport and physical activity a day, and that there was an increase in the number of children and young people doing no activity at all in the previous seven days - up by a quarter of a million (3.3 per cent) since pre-pandemic.
The findings additionally showed that:
- while activity levels among five to 16-year-olds were returning to normal following the pandemic, those left behind included primary school children aged seven to nine, as well as Black boys and Black girls
- attitudes towards physical education were less positive than before the pandemic, and among those going to school in the most deprived areas
- obesity levels among children are rising, particularly in the most deprived areas, with as much as 31.3 per cent of Year 6 children classified as obese in the most deprived areas
- In London, one in four primary school children in Year 6 is obese (25.8 per cent) and only two London boroughs have a higher percentage of obese Year 6 pupils than in Westminster (30.1 per cent).
Brasher says events like the Vitality Westminster Mile are key to encouraging more people to be active.
The Event Director of London Marathon Events said: “Over the last 10 years the Westminster Mile has evolved into a truly inspirational event that offers people of all ages and abilities the chance to run, jog or walk a mile in one of the world’s most famous locations.
“But now is no time to rest on our laurels. Events like the Vitality Westminster Mile are more important now than ever before as they offer everyone a chance to be active. Statistics show that groups of younger children, be it because of their age, ethnicity or socio-economic background, are being left behind. Every child or young person should have the opportunity to be active every day, and we need to get them engaged in activity as early as possible and as often as possible.
“Now is the time to act if we want to preserve and enhance the legacy of the remarkable 2012 Olympics. We must encourage activity to all children and young people and with the Vitality Westminster Mile on the doorstep, there is no better reason to get out and be active.”
Councillor Cara Sanquest, Cabinet Member for Resident Participation, Consultation Reform and Leisure at Westminster City Council, said: “Westminster is proud to once again host the Vitality Westminster Mile which is celebrating a milestone 10th anniversary this year.
“The Vitality Westminster Mile is more than just an event; it brings our communities together to celebrate the joy of keeping fit and staying active. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, a beginner, or just looking for a fun day out with the family, there’s something for everyone.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents is the council’s top priority, and inclusive events like this are a fantastic way to encourage more people to take up running and improve their physical fitness.”
The Vitality Westminster Mile costs just £7 for participants aged 12-17 and entry is free of charge for children aged 11 and under. There are dedicated waves for Juniors, Walkers and Families, which is explained here.
Every finisher receives a souvenir medal and a timed result – not to mention a brilliant day out in the capital. To enter the Vitality Westminster Mile, either as an adult or as part of a group with family and/or friends, please click here. The Junior Wave can be entered here.