Sibling rivalry as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visit Stratford
PUBLISHED: 17:34 05 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:39 05 February 2017
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry put on their running shoes today in a visit to Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Joining first time marathon runners as well as world recorder holder and three times winner Paula Radcliffe and British 400m record holder Iwan Thomas on the track, William, Kate and Harry raced each other 60 metres along the home straight of the London Marathon Community Track.
To shouts and cheers of encouragement from the sidelines, each royal sprang from their starting positions to lead the first leg as part of three teams dubbed “Team Duke”, “Team Duchess” and “Team Harry”.
Whilst all three were quick off the blocks, it soon turned into a case of sibling rivalry with Wills and Harry hot on each other’s toes.
However, the speedy prince romped home beating his brother into second place and sister-in-law into third, although not without causing controversy after he strayed from his lane.
Joking about it afterwards, Paula Radcliffe, who was on the duchess’s team said: “He should have been disqualified for that.”
Eight times marathon regular Iwan Thomas praised the royal trio’s running and said: “I knew Harry would be good because he’s fit and looks quite explosive, but all three of them were equally athletic and so they should be.”
He said they were “definitely fit enough” to run a marathon, and said William had told him he would like to compete.
“All three of them are fit. They’ve also got the will to win - you can tell that. They were saying in the car on the way over, ‘listen, we’re just going to take this easy, it’s a fun day’.
“But as soon as the gun goes they all went for it - particularly Harry. The competitiveness kicks in.”
He said William said they “knew what would happen - Harry would go off - so they all had to run fast”.
Coach Nick Anderson, 46, from personal training company “Running With US”, who led the day’s exercise regime, added: “Kate ran very well. She was up on her toes and very light.
“But the boys clearly had a testosterone boost,” he joked.
However, every team was a winner with the runners of the last leg crossing the finishing line together in a show of solidarity.
The royals were in Stratford to lend their support to Heads Together, a group of eight mental health charities chosen as the London marathon charity of the year with all the runners there showing their support by raising sponsorship and wearing blue headbands.
After the competition, the royals and 150 “Team Heads Together” runners headed to the Copper Box arena where the latter enjoyed a “cool down” while the Duke, Duchess and Prince chatted with some of the budding athletes.
Evan Williams, 33, who along with his brother Ian, 31, and their friend Graham O’Loughlin, 36, aim to break the Guiness world record for running together as a trio, whilst bound together in a giant blue headband, spoke to William. “He joked with us that if we didn’t break the record he’d ban us from taking part again.”
In a speech thanking the runners and wishing them luck, the Duke said: “It falls to me as the only elite runner among us to say a few words. We want to normalise mental health and get people talking about it to reduce the stigma.”
Speaking after the event, Paula Radcliffe echoed William’s message on mental health. “It’s so important to open up and have the strength to talk about it,” she said.
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