Zöe Rucker: The Founder and Organiser of the May Mile™
Zöe is an amateur athlete running half, full and ultra-marathons. As a qualified FA Football Coach, she spends voluntary time encouraging children to exert their energy outside!
From her own experiences, Zöe encourages anyone of any age who has an interest in running. However when she mentioned a couple of local 2K or 5K races to inspire the younger generations the new runners were despondent, intimidated. There was no run just for them that wasn’t tacked onto a longer, adult race. Zöe wanted to organise a unique event dedicated solely to children.
Zöe has a deep belief that there should be simple sporting opportunities for young people. She believes that no matter what their ability, children should have a chance to achieve without pressure.
Zöe shares two case studies with us in her own words:
CASE STUDY 1
In 2010, I came across a young lad and asked if he was running the May Mile™. He looked at his feet and mumbled something about not knowing anything about it. I told him it was a race for him, I told him he had nothing to lose and I told him it was just fun and gave him a registration form. The day of the May Mile™ came and this young boy ran the May Mile™ because he wanted to.
In 2012 I came across the same young lad on his bicycle and asked him if he was running the May Mile™. He looked up, pulled his shoulders back and said ‘No, I’m not’. Noticing his new confident demeanour I enquired why not. ‘I didn’t realise I could run,’ he said. ‘Now I’m running in the cross-country county team!’
CASE STUDY 2
In 2014 I spoke with a parent whose child had just begun his new secondary school – quite a sporty school. She proudly told me of how her son was already in the school Athletics squad for long-distance running. She went on to confide that she believed he would never have had the confidence to trial for a position in the school team if he hadn’t been part of the May Mile™.
Without the May Mile™, a lot of children would not necessarily be exposed to competitive running and could miss out on an athletic future. The aim of the May Mile™ is to have one in every county throughout the UK.
Running is a universal activity. The objective of the May Mile™ is to engage as many children as possible into a non-threatening competitive environment.
Zöe's 2014 message to all May Mile™ runners is: "You can run a mile, you can run two or probably five miles if you put your mind to it. Believe in yourself and feel all the benefits of pushing your own boundaries through the May Mile™. And more importantly, enjoy it!"
Zöe's 2015 message is: "Own your run at the May Mile™ this year and race home feeling like a superhero!"
Zöe's 2016 message is: Have confidence in your running. The result will show you how reliable your instincts are.
Zöe's 2017 message is: Whether you're watching or running, come and soak up some inspiration from the May Mile™ this year. It's infectious!