Weir challanges Farah to race at Richmond Running Festival launch

Wimbledon Guardian: Back in town: David Weir at Kew Gardens this week lending his support to the Richmond Running Festival Back in town: David Weir at Kew Gardens this week lending his support to the Richmond Running Festival

Paralympic hero David Weir CBE launched a new junior wheelchair event this week as part of the Richmond Running Festival on September 21 and then challenged Mo Farah to a race.

“I’d love to try and beat him over 400m. I think it would be very close. Mo is a phenomenal athlete who gave me inspiration at London 2012,” said Weir at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

The junior wheelchair race is part of the Richmond’s London 2012 Olympic legacy programme and is supported by Weir and his coach Jenny Archer’s charity – Weir Archer Academy.

Young wheelchair athletes between the ages of 11 and 17 will be invited to compete in Kew Gardens before 6,000 adults compete in the 10k and half marathon races.

“I am delighted to be able to launch this fantastic junior wheelchair event,” added Weir, who heads to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month.

“After training so many miles in nearby Richmond Park I am pleased that London 2012 has inspired Kew Gardens to host Paralympic champions of the future.

“I am happy to see that Borough of Richmond is building on the legacy of London 2012 in this way.

"I am especially pleased that the Richmond Running Festival and Nike are allowing children to compete for free.

"This will give them a great opportunity to experience the joy and sense of achievement you get when you cross that finish line in a world heritage site.”

The event has been added to the Nike Kids’ Mile races put on by the Richmond Running Festival that will invite more than 1,000 school children between the ages of four and 15 to take part in afternoon races free of charge.

The Festival at Old Deer Park will also be a fun family day out with local bands and DJs providing the music, while London 2012 Olympians will be on hand to help make it a true celebration of sport and fitness.

The Festival’s Race Director Tom Bedford said, “Last year we started something very special that has enabled us to expand and target more of our Olympic Legacy aims.

“I would love to claim the idea for myself but the junior wheelchair event came from Kew Garden’s and has been delivered by the help of Nike. I thank them both for their support.

“It is a privilege to have a London 2012 icon here to launch this event and hope that in the future we can add a senior event so the Weirwolf can get the chance to race in Kew Garden’s himself."

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