Prince Harry braves the cold in running tights
In running tights, shorts and a tight top, the fifth in line to the throne joined a group of homeless young people on a 17-minute jog through the streets of Willesden Green in north-west London.
Harry, 32, was seeing how The Running Charity uses sport to help young people develop life skills during a visit to a hostel founded by the Depaul charity, which supports the homeless and disadvantaged.
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The Prince's jog took him along leafy residential roads and he was recognised a couple of times as he pounded the streets with the group – which included a Met Police personal protection officer.
Claude Umuhire, 26, a programme officer with The Running Charity, took the runners through a strenuous warm-up session then led the more gentle run.
He said about Harry after everyone had recovered: "He didn't find any of it hard, I think he's been training just for today. He found everything easy.
"I tried to get him in the warm-up but he did pretty well, he kept giving me looks though every time I said five squats."
He added: "There was a woman who was pulling out of her driveway then she realised who he was and she drove in front of us and started taking pictures of him.
"And as we were leaving, there was a guy at the traffic lights who looked across and did a double take – the joy in his face it was so funny, his eyes just opened up, he was so happy."
The royal was out with memebrs of The Running Charity
Harry, who led the group of runners on the 2km jog, was following in the family footsteps by visiting the hostel. It was opened by his late mother, Princess Diana, in 1995.
I think he's been training just for today
Claude Umuhire, The Running Charity
Afterwards he told his fellow runners: “You have all made the decision to go running. Now you are all ambassadors for The Running Charity.”
As he left, he spotted a green baize table and joked: “Next time I will come and play pool maybe!”
The charity, which was set up by Alex Eagle, works with homeless charities to put young people together with qualified fitness coaches, using running as a motivational tool.
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“Young people are so used to failing. But with fitness, whatever you put in, you get a result. If you make the effort the reward will come,” Mr Eagle said.
One participant, Steve, ran the London Marathon last year. “When he joined us he was seven stone and a heroin user. Now he is healthy, clean and employed. This year he wants to do an ultra-marathon – he wants to run from London to Brighton.”
Mr Eagle added: “The prince observed that a lot of young people who use our charities have been let down in the early stages of life and that their success is defined by how they pick themselves up. That’s what The Running Charity is all about, believing in young people and communities.”
Mr Umuhire, 26, who came from Rwanda when he was 10, also went from being homeless to running the London Marathon and is now the charity’s programme officer. He became homeless after he dropped out of university. “I was homeless for about eight months, sleeping on the streets.”
Joining the charity changed his life. “I found fitness helped me focus myself. Before, I played football but that was about it. Running was not my thing. But it can become very addictive. If someone had told me I was going to run the marathon, I would have said you were crazy,” he added.
Martin Houghton-Brown, the UK chief executive of the Depaul group of hostels, said the Willesden Green hostel was opened by Diana in 1995. “She really connected with the young people, and returned in a private capacity to play ball games with them,” he added.