Two girls holding Thank you Greg signs at the Muller Anniversary Games

A family day out at the Muller Anniversary Games

There’s nothing quite so inspirational for a child as seeing something happening in front of their eyes. Parents and teachers can wax lyrical about a child’s potential. They can race their peers and win – or lose. But watching a world class race and seeing athletes they aspire to doing something amazing brings home the realisation that it is possible.

Laura Muir running in the mile race during the Muller Anniversary Games

About the Muller Anniversary Games

I was chatting to a family friend about London 2012 at the weekend. As a London resident, she was amazed at the way the whole atmosphere of the place changed during the Olympics. People suddenly started chatting to each other on the tube. Discussing the events, the results and their hopes and fears. Connecting in a way that Londoners haven’t done for years.

Then, just as suddenly as it had begun, the games ended. Everyone put their heads back in their books and stopped speaking to each other. Their shared interest had gone. The mutual understanding that we were all in it together, showcasing London and the UK on the world stage. Pride in the city and in British athletes.

Whilst it would be a big ask to get Londoners chatting again, British Athletics didn’t want to let the Olympics drift away completely. So in 2013, the first Muller Anniversary Games took place. The stadium that had come alive during Super Saturday would host world class athletes again. Not once, but every year, and in 2018 it was still going strong.

Why take children to watch the Muller Anniversary Games?

My only criticism of the games in London was that it was so incredibly difficult to get hold of a ticket. The athletics in particular was so popular that trying to get one through the ballot was almost impossible. If you had money to burn, you had more chance of getting a ticket. Less people tried to get hold of those that retailed at £400, so the games became more elitist than they should have been.

The Muller Anniversary Games are different. Ticket prices were much more accessible. Not only for individuals, but for families too. So, we weren’t the only ones going into the stadium with young children. Throughout the stadium, athletes of the future were there to be inspired. And they weren’t disappointed. Within half an hour of arriving, we’d seen Kare Adenegan obliterate the world record for the T34 100 metres.

Photo credit: Getty Images

The girls got swept up into the atmosphere of Greg Rutherford’s final competition. Although he wasn’t on form due to injury, it was amazing to see him compete. Because sport isn’t all about winning. Rutherford demonstrated support for his fellow competitors and thanked the crowd for their support. The girls didn’t know much about field events, but they were as fascinated by those as the races happening on the track.

Two girls holding Thank you Greg signs at the Muller Anniversary Games

The practicalities

The Muller Anniversary games is the perfect family day out. We took along a picnic, although we had to buy drinks in the stadium because you can’t take liquids in. Food and drink prices are steep – we paid £10 for two slush puppies for the girls. We were definitely glad we’d taken that picnic.

Getting there was a bit of a nightmare. Trains from the Midlands can be hit and miss on a Sunday and we didn’t want to take the risk, so we decided to drive to Uxbridge and get the underground from there. It wasn’t until we were half way that we realised there were closures on the line and the journey from Uxbridge would take far too long with numerous changes and a replacement bus. So, we ended up driving all the way.

There are several car parks for the stadiums, but with an event on they do fill up quickly. We parked in Westfield shopping centre instead, where there are 5000 spaces. It took us a good half an hour of driving around to finally spot a space. From there, it was a short walk to the stadium and getting in was very straight forward. I would definitely advise getting there on public transport if possible though.

Thankfully, once we got into the stadium all the hassle of getting there was quickly forgotten. This was the second time we’ve taken the girls to see athletics, and it certainly won’t be the last. Even for children who aren’t particularly into sport, the atmosphere is incredible and they’ll enjoy watching the events and feeling a part of it. We can’t wait to go again soon and the girls have been practicing their relays already!

Two little girls passing a stick practicing their relay races after watching the Muller Anniversary Games

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  1. It looks like a great day out and perfect to introduce children to games and competitors.
    Well done navigating the railway chaos and getting there in time!

  2. What an amazing thing to do! I’m particularly envious that you saw Greg Rutherford – now my son is so into long jumping, he’s become his hero! We went for a day during the Paralympics in 2012 and the atmosphere in the stadium was just brilliant.
    The travel situation sounds a bit of a nightmare, but glad you found a way to get there.