SHOPPERS should mind their step on Saturday, June 14, as sprinting youths race through Wharf Green as a part of the 2014 Street Athletics programme fronted by Linford Christie.
For the fourth time in six years, the Olympic gold medallist and fellow Olympian Darren Campbell will bring their contest to find the fastest teenagers in Britain to Swindon town centre.
Wharf Green will be transformed into a 60-metre sprint straight, as shoppers watch four age groups across both genders battle it out to reach the national final in Manchester on August 30.
This year’s event will be funded by Swindon Community Safety Partnership which is looking to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town centre with the races.
Doug Imrie, sports participation manager at Swindon Council, is leading event co-ordination. He said: “SCSP is targeting areas it wants to make an impact on and deter anti-social behaviour.
“We are dictated to by them because they are funding it. “They want this event to be put on rather than have kids loitering around the town centre.
“The events are targeted at young people who aren’t necessarily involved in sports clubs. “We are looking for kids from disengaged areas to come down and run.”
Street Athletics, which is being supported by inSwindon, will pit under-13, under-15, under-17 and under-20 aged competitors together.
Entry is free and every participant will get a free T-shirt, dogtags and the chance to mingle with two Olympic medallists.
Mr Imrie said a location for the sprint straight had been yet to be finally identified, but it is likely Market Street or the thoroughfare between Wharf Green and Farnsby Street another option.
“This gives them the chance to meet and talk with an Olympic gold medallist, which they won’t get to do very often, if ever,” he said.
“We took 30 people to the Copper Box in London last year with the Street Games programme at the council. “Seventy per cent of those who went had never even been to London, let alone the Olympic Park.
“It will be a great experience for anyone taking part. There will be people who don’t even know it’s on, stopping and watching the action.”
Registration opens at noon and will close at 1pm, with races running from 1pm until 3pm. The event has previously been held in Swindon in 2009, 2012 and 2013. Last year, Christie was at the County Ground for the race.