On Saturday, March 31, Arsenal fans, staff and keen runners from more than 20 countries around the world came together to take part in the annual ‘Be a Gunner. Be a Runner.’ event.
With around 750 runners braving the cold at Emirates Stadium, many more overseas-based individuals and groups took part in simultaneous and independently-organised runs in more than 20 different countries, including Australia, India, Poland and Nigeria, to help spread the word about the Club’s global charity partnership. To date the event has raised £40,000 with the figure expected to rise further over the coming weeks.
This year's event at Emirates Stadium was the biggest yet with 400 adults taking on the 10-lap, 6.4km route around the Gunners’ home and more than 300 youngsters completing a shorter one or two lap race.
Both the children and adults were put through their paces before the race with a professional warm-up exercise, before ex-Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere joined Club mascot Gunnersaurus to get the young runners on their way. Gunners legend, Charlie George, was then joined by Sky Sports News presenter, Charlie Webster to start the adult’s race.
First past the finishing line for the men was Louis Walshe who completed the 6.4km in a time of 23mins 23secs. Ruby Dixon took the women’s crown, completing the 6.4km run in 33mins 43secs.
Taking part in the event for the fourth year but victorious for the first time, Ruby commented: “I love taking part in this event and running around this fantastic stadium with all my fellow Gooners. It’s a great way for everyone to show their support for the Club’s charity partner.”
Lizzie Lleshi from Save the Children, who was also participating and who has been writing a weekly blog for the event, said: "I’m lucky enough to work for Save the Children, so I thought Be a Gunner. Be a Runner would be a perfect opportunity to combine my husband’s love of Arsenal, with my passion for saving and changing children’s lives! The training has been tough, but I’m very proud to have been part of the event and run alongside Arsenal fans and staff who have all showed fantastic support to help children fulfill their potential."
All funds raised from this event will go towards the Club’s partnership with Save the Children, supporting a range of education projects in the UK and overseas, helping the poorest children get a better start in life and giving them the chance to grow and fulfil their potential.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 2 Apr 2012