Women in Leeds are being invited for a dash round the shops with a difference this weekend.

A special pop-up running event will take place at the Trinity Leeds shopping centre this Sunday as Leeds City Council and Run Leeds back UK Sport’s This Girl Can initiative.

Aimed at celebrating active women everywhere, the national campaign is also hoping to inspire more women to get involved in sport and physical activity no matter what their level of ability.

Sunday’s event takes place from 12pm-5pm and coincides with International Women’s Day.

It will include guided runs led by Leeds-based Veggie Runners that will take in some key city centre landmarks and a Trinity Trail treasure hunt that will see families searching the centre for clues and prizes.

Members of the public will be invited to join in the activities for free and an event expo will also offer advice and information from experts including Leeds Let’s Get Active, Park Run and Veggie Runners.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:

“This Girl Can is all about trying to break down the barriers that prevent women from taking part in sport and physical activity.

“I know from personal experience how difficult it can be if you don’t fit the stereotypical image of what an active woman is and it’s fantastic that we’re doing something about that.

“Women and girls face completely unrealistic images in the media and wider society about how exercise should look. This campaign will go a long way to dispelling myths around things like having perfect hair and makeup after a run or workout in the gym.

“We’re all different, we all have our imperfections and sometimes lack confidence, but we should all be able to take part in sport and physical activity and enjoy it irrespective of our abilities or experience.”

Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, added:

“I’m delighted the This Girl Can campaign is helping to give proper recognition of the importance of healthy and active lifestyles for women, promoting women’s exercise and sport.

“We know exercise can make a huge difference to health and we also know women’s sport is often overlooked in the media, so this is a great chance to raise awareness of exercise and its benefits.

“Leeds is doing a wide range of positive work to promote active lifestyles, from cycling with Skyride, walking with the Walk Leeds initiative, and the many, many Leeds Let’s Get Active opportunities.

“It’s great to see this pop-up event at Trinity Leeds and I wish everyone taking part every success.”

A national campaign developed by Sport England, This Girl Can aims to break down barriers preventing women from exercising.

Nigel Harrison, CEO of West Yorkshire Sport, said:

“It’s been fantastic to see women and girls participating in sport on the back of the This Girl Can campaign, either returning to sports they’ve not played for a while or trying something completely new.

“Once you find something you enjoy then you’ll keep doing it again and again, and events like this provide the ideal opportunity to give something a go and find out if it’s for you.”

For more details about This Girl Can, visit: http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk

For details on Sunday’s event or to sign up, visit: www.runleeds.co.uk/this-girl-can/popuprunning

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