Run through inner-city green pockets and urban wilderness in The Outdoor City

Run through inner-city green pockets and urban wilderness in The Outdoor City

07 April 2016

An interview with Doug Banks, founder of Kandoo Events, on how his running hobby turned into a successful outdoor events business in Sheffield. 

I got into running whilst at school in Brussels. Our coach David McCreanney was a former professional runner with a real passion for passing on his knowledge to his students, so he really inspired us to take part in cross country and other running events.

I moved back to England for sixth form where I studied for two years in Kent before moving to Sheffield to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Sheffield. After a couple of stints working abroad in Germany, Borneo and Canada, I then got a job in the events sector in Sheffield. Having plenty of friends who, like me, are keen runners, and having taken part in different running events across the city, I came to the realisation that there was plenty more for people to see in Sheffield not already covered in organised runs.

So a friend and I decided to set up our own running events where we could try to blend the best bits of a big commercial race with a more local feel and really show off the city. We hold 3 running events annually; The Round Sheffield Run, the Sheffield TenTenTen and The Gateshead Trail 10k.

The main event Kandoo Events hold is now the Round Sheffield Run race which has 11 stages, a bit like a rally, with breaks in between the runs. The race is a completely original format in running so seems to have captured people’s imagination. The event is quite central so people can walk to the starting point and the route links some of the best trails and green spaces with urban areas of Sheffield.

We wanted to give runners something they’d not experienced before. We find that the people who attend this race are surprised by the trails in Sheffield; they didn’t even know they existed! That's why Sheffield is the perfect location for this type of race, with its mixture of inner city green pockets, urban wilderness and then deep countryside, it would be hard to replicate this anywhere else. By introducing these breaks, it gives people the opportunity to have a conversation, introducing a social aspect to the race which is missing from other running events. Normally in a race, you turn up, run and then ten minutes after you’ve finished, head home. You don’t get the chance to chat or meet any of the other runners. You're too out of breath to talk whilst racing and then when it has finished people are keen to get home.

So we thought that if we had a DJ playing music at the end of the race with deck chairs to sit and relax, as well as food and drink stalls selling pizza and beer then it would give the event a more relaxed vibe. Almost like a mini festival at the end of the race bringing everyone together to discuss their times, the race and get to know each other. It gives runners the chance to have fun and meet up with other runners before they finish racing for the summer. The race can be completed as an individual or as a mixed or same sex pair, which is great for making sure everyone is included.

The event is pretty popular  which seems to be due to the event really embracing the enjoyment of running as well as the celebrating after, of course. Watching people enjoy themselves gives me a sense of satisfaction that I don’t want to lose and some racers have claimed that the Round Sheffield Run is the first event they’ve actually enjoyed during the race itself.

It should be mentioned that there is a large team of people who all contribute to make the events happen, with focus on making sure the experience for the competitor is as enjoyable as possible. We work together with local businesses and charities to hopefully create something a little bit special. Sheffield has some of the finest running terrain and people you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Still undecided whether to do that 10k or half marathon, and not sure you can fit in the training with your day-to-day life? Why not take the pressure off yourself, have a bit of fun instead and try the only event of its kind!

For more information see our websites: Kandoo Events

Not from Sheffield? Then why not make a weekend of it, there are plenty of things to see and do here, from visiting the theatres and museums in the city centre to exploring the Peaks and walking the inner-city parks.