Keeping Things Running! – Bird sits down with Kevin from The Running Bee Foundation

The pandemic hasn’t made things easy for a lot of different organisations and charities… But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out ways to carry on delivering a stellar product for your audience! Bird recently sat down with Kevin Harmer from The Running Bee Foundation to talk about how COVID-19 has altered their plans, their work situation and how they’ve been able to adapt to the new world we’re all living in today:

How have things been working from home? How has it been different from your usual day-to-day?

“It’s been something I’ve never really experienced before! I think for everybody it took a few days to figure out how it would work for you. But I think once that procedure was set, I was able to get on with things really well! I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to my colleagues as often as I have during this period actually. I think it made people pick up the phone and do Zooms, which probably nobody even knew about before the start of March! So it’s certainly helped the communication levels between different departments. But yeah, it was just a case of getting yourself used to the new way of working.”


How difficult has it been for you during this time, being a charitable foundation?

“For every business it’s been a challenge; Whether you’re a shoe shop, whether you’re a newspaper, whether you’re whatever! I think there’s only been a couple of businesses that have actually done well during all of this… I think people have valued their money more than ever before. Entry numbers have dipped a little bit, but the good thing we’ve seen is people getting behind the virtual races, which is fantastic! And we’re starting to see more and more entries for the physical races later in the year as well! We want people to feel confident and comfortable about running with us. We can’t wait for the day things get back to normal!”


You touched on the virtual races there. They’ve been really popular, can you tell us a little bit about that?

“We’re trying to diversify a little bit. And a great choice was to create some virtual events where people could choose a distance to complete which is quite unique! Normally, on a race day, you would have to do a 10K and you would have to do it all at once. Whereas with our virtual races there’s opportunities for people to do a 10K maybe during a 4 week period. So, if you can do it in one run, great! Or if you’re new to running you can do it over ten different sessions, or twenty different sessions. The Virtual Tour of Tameside was brilliant! Having around 250 people completing the full virtual Tour was incredible. It’s only what we would expect from people in the Tameside area. They’re all very passionate. Very keen to do anything involving the Tour of Tameside and their community. That was great to see.”


So what events does The Running Bee Foundation have planned for this year? What are the dates and how do people get involved?

“So we’ve got a couple of virtual races going on at the moment. We’ve done another Tameside Virtual which is running for four weeks. We’re also doing a Preston Virtual as well. But we’re very much looking forward to the physical races, so we’re planning for Preston at the end of October, followed by the Manchester and Salford 10K’s! We’re planning that they will go ahead, but they will certainly look different. And there will be much more communication needed. At the moment there’s a rough amount of guidance from the likes of UK Athletics, but even they are guided by the Government. So we’re doing as much as we can and we’re very hopeful that it’ll go ahead. We’re pretty focused on that.”


What do you think the future holds for The Running Bee Foundation?

“I think it’s going to be a positive outlook! We were talking earlier, and the view very much is that people are absolutely DESPERATE to get out and do those normal things! So we very much want to welcome those people now who’ve found something they didn’t know existed before March, but also to re-engage with those people who have always been Running Bee supporters as well. We’re looking at an event schedule in 2021 which will be our biggest ever! With hopefully a couple of new multi-date events in the early part of the year and into the Summer months as well. We’re even looking at bringing back our Halloween event we delivered a couple of years ago which was great! It’s very family-focused as well. We can’t wait to see what the future brings!”

To find out more about The Running Bee Foundation, you can check out their website here.

You can also follow them on Twitter @TheRunningBee and on their Instagram or Facebook.

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