Thousands came together to take part in Parallel London’s push/run challenges and free family festival in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, just days before the Rio Paralympic Games.
Earlier today, thousands of people gathered at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London to take part in the inaugural Parallel London, the world’s first fully accessible and all-inclusive mass participation push/run event. A free family festival ran alongside the challenge events in a national celebration of diversity, supported by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Parallel London called upon the nation to sign up and take part, and they certainly met the challenge. Thousands of people participated in one or more of the five Parallel London challenges -100m, 1km, 5km, 10km and Super Sensory 1km. Over 40% of the participants took part with a disability, supported by over 500 carers.
Andrew Douglass of Parallel London said “Parallel London is a welcoming and accessible environment for people of all ages and abilities, allowing everybody to be independent and active. That is the spirit of Parallel London and I hope today’s landmark event shines a light on the beauty of diversity and potential of a truly inclusive society”.
The event hosted the innovative Super Sensory 1km, a ground-breaking multi-sensory challenge, available to all, but particularly tailored for individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities, people of all ages on the autistic spectrum and those who need sensory support. Over a hundred people took part in this landmark Super Sensory challenge, demonstrating that if the environment is accessible, more and more people will get active.
The family festival, which was free to enter for the thousands of participants and spectators, featured an array of attractions, entertainment and workshops across six different themed zones. Leading brands including Barclays, Toyota, Cathedral City, innovision and Livability sponsored the festival zones, which encompassed the worlds of food & drink, technology, culture, community, family and active lifestyle. Irwin Mitchell, Gatwick Airport and BP were among the supporting partners.
Parallel London ambassador Victoria Milligan said, “It was a fantastic event. To see people with all abilities out there on the track, completely inclusively, it’s so inspiring. It was really special to take part in a race with my family; I ran the 1km with my son and the 5km with my girls. Being an amputee myself and also a personal trainer, I really encourage people to get out there, move their body and celebrate movement no matter what their ability.”
Parallel London is run as a not-for-profit event and also provides a platform for charitable fundraising, enabling beneficiaries to become benefactors for the first time. Livability and BBC Children in Need were leading charity partners, with many other incredible causes benefiting from the many participants who were fundraising for the very first time.
With the success of this first event under its belt, Parallel London looks to establish itself as an annual national celebration of inclusivity and to become one of the biggest events in the UK’s calendar.
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