Olympic gold medallist jumps in to help at Whitley Bay Parkrun

Greg Rutherford helps youngsters warm up ahead of the Whitley Bay Junior Parkrun.
Greg Rutherford helps youngsters warm up ahead of the Whitley Bay Junior Parkrun.

Young athletes were given a session to remember thanks to an Olympic champion.

Whitley Bay Junior Parkrun surprised their budding junior athletes with a visit from Team GB long jumper Greg Rutherford to their event on Sunday, September 9.

Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford with some of the young runners.

Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford with some of the young runners.

The 2012 Olympic long jump gold medallist and current British long jump record holder came along as part of #teamparkrun, an initiative that invited more than 250 UK National Lottery funded Olympic and Paralympic athletes to volunteer at parkruns and junior parkruns across the country, and encourage the nation to get active.

After helping the juniors get warmed up, Greg donned a hi-viz jacket and took on the role of tail walker, providing support and encouragement for runners along the way.

Almost 200 juniors turned up for the event, which came the day after Greg completed the final long jump of his professional career at the Great North City games on Newcastle Quayside.

Kelly Richards and Lucy Craig, Co-Event Directors at Whitley Bay junior parkrun, said: “It was such an honour to have Greg join us on Sunday.

“He was really encouraging to all of our juniors, sharing lots of tips and posing for lots of pictures!”

At the finish line, juniors had the chance to see how their long jump measured up against Greg’s personal best of 8.51m.

Luke Cummings, seven, a regular at the event said: “It was so exciting meeting an Olympic gold medallist!”

Whitley Bay junior parkrun is a free two-kilometre run for children aged between 4 and 14.

It is held every Sunday morning at 9am, starting on the prom next to the Rendezvous café.

For more information or to register visit www.parkrun.org.uk/events/juniorevents

#teamparkrun is backed by Sport England, Sport Scotland, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland, the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association, along with a number of national governing bodies.