Sport

‘Inclusive’ runs off to a sprinting start in Finsbury Park

Ahead of the charity event, a spokesperson for the Friends of Finsbury Park said they hoped Haringey Council ‘has learned lessons’ from last year’s runs, writes Lara Bryant

Credit: Lucas Favre via Unsplash

With the new year upon us, many of us may have resolutions of getting fitter and staying active. This is certainly the case for many of the runners participating in Run Through’s new year events happening across London, and the UK, this January.

Run Through’s next event will be happening this Sunday, 28th January in the heart of Finsbury Park. Residents from across North London and beyond will gather together to run a 5k, 10k or half marathon race across the park. Run Through have also added a junior race, making the event suitable for all ages.

But encouraging people to stay active is not the only goal of Run Through. Although they host regular health and fitness projects, workshops and training, their aims are far wider reaching.

The Run Through Foundation has a mission to empower people from low-income communities across the UK to transform their lives. They strive to remove barriers to entry by providing completely free events to support people in improving their physical and mental wellbeing.

Only 10% of the UK population participate in running. But Run Through are striving to change this by encouraging residents of low-income areas to get involved in activities and foster a tight-knit sense of community and unity.

The topic of safety and community is pertinent to the area of Finsbury Park. The park and its surrounding area have garnered considerable attention for crime and anti-social behaviour with 435 crimes reported to the Metropolitan Police in November 2023. The park itself is also considered dangerous by many local residents, especially at night, due to theft and anti-social behaviour.

Ross Franks, head of southern operations for Run Through, said: “We’ve always had a strong attachment with Finsbury Park: when Run Through first started we hosted events within the park. We want to create an even better atmosphere just by having stalls, coffee, food, entertainment. We want to bring people of all types of background, ages; we’re very much inclusive and we hold ourselves by that.”

Not all are convinced of the event’s benefits, however.

Bethany Anderson, the co-chair of The Friends of Finsbury Park, a charity working to create a healthier and safer park, commented: “We hope Haringey Council have learned lessons from previous events. The residents of the three boroughs surrounding the park deserve affordable, community, low impact events that leave their park open to all, ecological sound and safe”.