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Independent business hopes to capitalise on sporting events

Simply Running

Photograph: Simply Running owner Kevin Hayward

A city centre business which celebrated its 10th anniversary at the end of 2011 is looking forward to the big events which should help it make a flying start to the next decade.

The first Hull Marathon in April followed by the arrival in the city of the Olympic Torch in June and then the opening of the Games themselves in July present a golden opportunity for businesses involved in sport and fitness.

And as a business that offers expertise in addition to kit and accessories, Simply Running is at the head of the field.

“Competition is tough because there are a lot of major retailers who sell sports equipment,” said Kevin Hayward, who set up Simply Running in Albion Street with his wife Melanie.

“But we’re both very experienced runners, which enables us to advise and encourage runners of all abilities and experience on training, nutrition, injury treatment and prevention.”

The couple met through running and were married on the Isle of Lewis 16 years ago after completing the island’s half-marathon. They launched the business after Kevin was made redundant from his clerical job with a printing business.

“We always wanted to have our own business but the cheque at the end of the month was the easy option. When that was taken away we decided to bite the bullet,” said Kevin.

He admits to having run marathons but says he only “learned how to run properly” after leaving the army, moving to Hull and joining the East Hull Harriers.

Kevin ran marathons and ultra-distance challenges – events of 12 and 24 hours – before concentrating on triathlons. Melanie also competes in triathlons and is known as one of the top runners in the area at 10 kilometres, 10 miles and half-marathons.

“We get runners of all levels of experience in the shop and we are able to help all of them,” said Kevin.

“We get experienced runners, people who are returning to running and complete novices, from young people right up to pensioners. We can provide them with all the equipment they need but crucially we can also provide the advice that will help them structure running and triathlon programmes.”

Neither Kevin nor Melanie will be taking part in the Hull Marathon but they will be present in a business capacity.

“We will have a Simply Running stand somewhere near the start,” said Kevin.

“It’s an exciting event which is attracting huge interest and should be really good not just for the local running fraternity but for the city in general.”

Kathryn Shillito, Hull BID City Centre Manager, said: “We put a lot of effort into working with Hull City Council and other partners to support big events and raise awareness to help city centre businesses benefit, get involved and be prepared.  We’ll continue to raise awareness by promoting opportunities arising from the Hull Marathon and it’s  It’s great to see that Simply Running recognises an opportunity an event such as the Hull Marathon brings into the city centre for businesses. Kevin already has his plans in place.”

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Business highlight

Independent business hopes to capitalise on sporting events

A city centre business which celebrated its 10th anniversary at the end of 2011 is looking forward to the big events which should help it make a flying start to the next decade.

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