Thousands of people gathered at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London this weekend to take part in the inaugural Parallel London, the 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.
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.
The event hosted the Super Sensory 1km, a 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.
The family festival, which was free to enter for participants and spectators, featured attractions, entertainment and workshops across six different themed zones. Brands including Barclays, Toyota, Cathedral City, innovision and Livability sponsored the festival zones.
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 causes benefiting from the participants who were fundraising.
Andrew Douglass, 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.”
Parallel London ambassador Victoria Milligan added: “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.”