An action packed three months of exciting sporting events gets underway in Medway this weekend (18 and 19 May). This year’s Medway Festival of Sport includes an incredible 50 events in 70 days, ranging from international competitions to schools’ tournaments and mass participation events for the whole community to get involved in.

The festival begins with an Open Leisure Weekend – a free programme of activities across Medway’s leisure centres on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May. Medway Park, Splashes Leisure Centre, Deangate Ridge Sports Complex, Hundred of Hoo Leisure Centre and Strood Leisure Centre are all offering free sessions to encourage people to get active and enjoy some free sporting fun. Sports and sessions on offer include free swimming for all, gym taster sessions and special membership offers, plus football, golf, table tennis, badminton and squash. Coaching will be available at some sessions. Race for Life, the all-women 5km run in aid of Cancer Research UK takes place this Sunday, 19 May from 11.30am. The race will take a new route for 2013, starting and finishing at Rochester Castle.

Among the highlights later this summer will be the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup, which is being held for the first time at Medway Park, Gillingham from 3-13 July. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe said: “We’re committed to promoting and developing sport in Medway in the wake of the success of the 2012 Olympics, as well as helping people to keep healthy by being active. So we’re very proud that this year’s Festival of Sport programme includes more events than ever, including many free activities to take part in”.

“I hope everyone will take the opportunity to enjoy the many exciting sporting events on offer here this summer”. To download a full programme of what is on offer where, visit http://www.medway.gov.uk/festivalofsport or call 01634 338764.

Festival highlights:
Race for Life
Sunday, 19 May, 11.30am
The all-women 5km run in aid of Cancer Research UK takes a new route for 2013, starting and finishing at Rochester Castle. For more information and to enter visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org

Tour de Kent
Saturday, 25 – Monday, 27 May
A charity cycle ride starting and finishing at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium. Riders will cover 200 miles in three days, visiting 21 football grounds across the county in aid of Cardiac Risk in Kent and the Take Heart Mercy Mission. To join the ride, or to donate, visit http://www.tourdekent13.co.uk

Families On Your Marks
Sunday, 2 June 11am-3pm
A free day of drop-in family sport at Medway Park for families with children aged 6-11. Sports on offer include badminton, table tennis, athletics, dance and aerobics classes, and swimming. Activities will be led by coaches who will be on hand to get the activities up and running and show families the basics. There’s no need to book in advance and all equipment is provided.

Medway 10km
Sunday, 23 June 10am
New for 2013, a 10km run starting and finishing at Medway Park in Gillingham aimed at experienced athletes and new runners alike, in aid of Cerebral Palsy Care.

Medway 20Twenty Cricket Cup
Monday, 27 May
Rainham Cricket Club and various locations around Medway. The climax of a tournament between Medway’s cricket clubs in the shortened format of the game, featuring two semi-finals and a grand final.

Medway Masters football tournament
Saturday, 1 June
A 7-a-side tournament for over 35s at Anchorians FC in Gillingham. To enter a team call 01634 338763 or email medwaysport@medway.gov.uk

Women’s football tournament

Sunday, 2, June

An all-women’s tournament at The Garrison, Gillingham. To enter a team call 01634 338763 or email medwaysport@medway.gov.uk

SuperLeague Rugby and Rugby League Stampede Weekend
Friday 7- Sunday 9 June

London Broncos RLFC take on Warrington Wolves at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium on Saturday, 8 June.

It is the second time the Broncos have gone on the road and brought a home game to Medway, following a successful match against Hull FC at the home of the Gills last season that attracted an above-average crowd for a home game.

Tickets are £20 for adults, £12 concessions and £5 for under 19s. Contact the box office on 020 8410 6000 or book online at http://www.londonbroncosrl.com

The stampede weekend running alongside the SuperLeague game is a multi-event festival showcasing Medway’s blossoming rugby league.

Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup
3-13 July
Some of the world’s toughest wheelchair athletes will do battle in the World Cup at Medway Park.
See if current world champions England can fight off the challenge from France, Australia, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
Group matches take place on 3, 6 and 9 July. Semi finals are on 11 July and the grand final takes place on 13 July.
Tickets start at £4 for adults and £1 for children and are on sale now at http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

Medway River Festival
Saturday, 6 July 10am to 4.30pm
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the River Medway takes centre stage again for this free family fun day, in conjunction with the Gillingham Boat and Chandlery Fair.
Activities on and off the water along Chatham Waterfront include yacht and rowing races, river rescues, displays and live music, arts and crafts and more.

Local clubs and associations will also be offering support and advice shore side for everyone to learn more about the river and have a go sessions are being offered at the Boat and Chandlery Fair at Gillingham Marina.

Clubmark Clubs and Disability Clubs Taster
Thursday, 18 July 10am-4pm
Medway Park hosts a day of fun activities from Medway’s leading Clubmark and disability sports clubs.

Goalball Open Day
Saturday, 20 July 10.30am-4pm
Medway Park hosts a day of goalball activities, coaching and competition in association with Goalball UK to promote this Paralympic sport.

Medway Mile
Friday, 26 July
5pm to 9.30pm. Mass Mile at 7.30pm
This year’s Medway Mile will be held as the grand finale to the Festival of Sport. Once again it is free to enter and every participant receives a free t-shirt.
The evening programme will feature children’s races, a mascot race, competitive adult race and the mass participation mile, which last year attracted more than 3,000 runners and walkers.
The evening, and the whole Festival of Sport, will culminate with a fireworks finale.

Schools Events
Thousands of Medway school children will also be taking part in this year’s Festival of Sport.
No fewer than 16 inter-school competitions will be staged during the festival, including the final events of this year’s Mini Youth and Secondary Schools Games competitions, and the annual Disability Youth Summer Games.
Special primary and secondary school rugby league competitions will also be staged to mark England hosting the Rugby League World Cup later in the year and to coincide with Medway hosting the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.
For more information on all of these events, visit http://www.medway.gov.uk/festivalofsport

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