Video: Kids lead the way with Leeds Junior Run and Mini Run

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ALMOST 1,000 youngsters pounded the streets of Leeds today to raise cash for charity.

Entries for the Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Runs sold out as children kicked off a weekend of charity races in the city.

Organised by Jane Tomlinson’s Run for All, this morning’s event at Leeds Dock included a 1.5km mini run for children aged three to eight.

The spirit of the event was captured by the effort of seven-year-old Euan Ashurst, of Alwoodley. He took on the challenge despite battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable muscle-wasting condition.

Also taking part was Jane Tomlinson’s nine-year-old granddaughter, Emily, who was joined by her best friend as they took part in the Junior Run.

Sarah McLaughlin, of Run For All, said: “A huge well done to all the children who took part today; they did a brilliant job.

The start of today's Arena Group Junior Run at Leeds Dock. Picture James Hardisty.

The start of today's Arena Group Junior Run at Leeds Dock. Picture James Hardisty.

“It was really heart-warming to see so many youngsters taking part for a huge variety of causes.”

All those taking part were encouraged to raise money for the event’s partner charity, JDRF.

The charity is the leading global organisation funding type 1 diabetes research and also funds research that has made life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications.

JDRF ambassador Phil Packer MBE congratulated all those who had taken part.

Harvey Norden and Holly Davey were the first boy and girl to finish the Junior Run. Picture James Hardisty.

Harvey Norden and Holly Davey were the first boy and girl to finish the Junior Run. Picture James Hardisty.

“By raising funds for JDRF they will help support vital research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes,” he said.

Many of the youngest runners were joined by parents and other family members in tackling the Mini Run course.

But first up were the youngsters aged between nine and 14, who took part in the junior run over a distance of 2.5km.

The enthusiasm was clear as they jumped around during a warm-up with Primal Health gym in the rain.

Warren and Alex Ashurst, of Alwoodley, Leeds, with their children Luke, 10, Rory, 3, and Euan, 7. Picture James Hardisty.

Warren and Alex Ashurst, of Alwoodley, Leeds, with their children Luke, 10, Rory, 3, and Euan, 7. Picture James Hardisty.

Members of Otley Athletics Club and Wortley Colts were among those near the start line as the countdown for the run began.

But it was Harvey Norden, a member of Rothwell Harriers, who was first to complete the course.

The 13-year-old from Garforth was the overall winner for the second year running and had come second in 2014.

Harvey said: “I’m just happy. I’ve been running with the club for three years. I just like the competition I think and the good feeling when you finish.”

George Sutcliffe followed Harvey in second place with Jenson Brogden in third.

Otley AC member Holly Davey triumphed in the girl’s junior run, while Nancy Britten took second place and Emily Plimmer came in third.

Celebration time for children crossing the line during the Mini Run. Picture James Hardisty.

Celebration time for children crossing the line during the Mini Run. Picture James Hardisty.

Proud parents and family turned out to cheer on the runners, some with banners made in the craft area set up for the event.

Amy Downsworth, from Baildon, was their to show her support for nine-year-old daughter Ellie Collinson

She said: “It’s Ellie’s first time. She’s just started doing races this season. She does a lot for school and really enjoys it. She was a little bit nervous but excited.

“I think it’s a really good idea. It’s better for the kids to have their own day and they still feel part of it.”

Entry was free thanks to the sponsorship of document management specialist Arena Group. Its support meant every child who finished also received a goody bag and finisher’s medal.

Managing director Adrian Fitzpatrick said: “Well done to all they children who ran today. They have supported an excellent cause and can wear their medals with pride.”

The company has backed Run For All Mini and Junior runs since 2010.

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