University students raise hundreds for three Lancaster schools

Runners celebrate after completing the fun run
Runners celebrate after completing the fun run
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Sporty students from the Lancaster-based University of Cumbria have raised hundreds of pounds for three schools in the city by organising a family fun run.

Five BA (Hons) sport, physical activity and health development students arranged the fourth annual Williamson Park Family Fun Run .

It attracted 179 runners and raised £500, which will fund new sports equipment for Dallas Road, Moorside and Bowerham Road primary schools.

Mark Cheal, a PE teacher at Moorside Primary School, won the 3km run and David Brockway, a sports student at the University of Cumbria, came first in the 5km race.

The event organisers - Grace Nicholson, Matthew Davies, Olivia Tindale, Thomas Earnshaw and Matthew Crawford – are in their final year of study at the university’s Bowerham Road, Lancaster campus.

Organisers Grace Nicholson, Matthew Davies, Olivia Tindale, Thomas Earnshaw and Matthew Crawford –are in their final year at the Bowerham Road, Lancaster campus.

They organised the run as part of their course’s event management module which required the team to plan, market, finance, deliver and evaluate an event within a 12-week time frame.

Matthew Davies,21, said: “The events module has allowed us to use our theoretical knowledge of sport and physical activity development in a practical way by using key skills such as planning, communication and team work, all of which will help us in our future employment.”

Olivia, also 21, added: “The day went spectacularly well with all competitors engaging fully in the event.

“It was great to see so many people in the park partaking and supporting the event which we deemed to be a huge success. We would like to thank all those who took part in the fun run and the Williamson Park staff for hosting our event and supporting our endeavours.”

Will Griffith, operations manager at Williamson Park, was the team’s industry mentor throughout the process on behalf of Lancaster City Council.

He said: “This is the fourth year we have been enthusiastic partners of the University of Cumbria in delivering this family friendly, entry level running event for local people.

“Each year it proves not only a satisfying experience for the runners, of all ages and abilities, but also in terms of giving the student event team first-hand – and sharp end – event management experience.”

The event also included support from local businesses and organisations such as the RSPB, Friends of Williamson Park. Market traders provided plant produce for sale and a hog roast stall.

Mark Christie, a senior lecturer in sport and physical activity at the university added: “The students had to work really cohesively as a unit across the whole 12-week planning period, and overcome various issues along the way, not the least of which is raising people’s awareness of the event, even though it is now an established fixture in the park’s calendar.

“They produced some outstanding marketing material but also appreciated that events rely on a good deal of face-to-face marketing, not just leaflets and social media.”

Kathryn Hoyle, programme leader for the programme said: “The students gain some fantastic employability skills and experiences in developing and delivering events of this kind, and appreciate the importance of effective communication and networking as part of the process. It is a great way for them to finish their degree on a high by delivering a successful event experience.”