Prince William kicks off Sandringham race on Father's Day

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image copyrightRun Sandringham/Epic Action Imagery
image captionThe Duke of Cambridge - with Prince George and Princess Charlotte - started the races

The Duke of Cambridge and his two eldest children kicked off an inaugural running event on Father's Day.

Prince William, who is celebrating his 39th birthday, surprised runners at the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on Sunday.

The duke, Prince George, seven, and Princess Charlotte, six, took to a stage to start the half-marathon event.

Race director Aaron Murrell said the runners "really enjoyed" seeing them.

image copyrightRun Sandringham/Epic Action Imagery
image captionThe damp weather did not stop the event

Mr Murrell said 1,300 runners took part in the Run Sandringham event, which included a half-marathon, a 5K and a community mile at the royal estate, with the aim of raising "many thousands of pounds for good causes".

"We were really happy that HRH The Duke of Cambridge joined us as our official race starter - along with his two children George and Charlotte," he said.

"The runners really enjoyed seeing them there as our special guests, and there was a fantastic atmosphere within the event village as they joined us on stage to start the half-marathon event."

image copyrightDio de Fernan
image captionThe family's Norfolk home is at Anmer Hall on the Queen's Sandringham Estate
image copyrightRun Sandringham/Epic Action Imagery
image captionThe royals clapped the runners as they went past the start

Runner Brian Cook said it was a "nice surprise, and nice of them to do".

Charities that benefitted included the organisers' choices of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Break and East Anglia's Children's Hospices, along with causes chosen by the individual participants.

image copyrightRun Sandringham/Epic Action Imagery
image captionRun Sandringham said 1,300 runners took part in the races
image copyrightRun Sandringham/Epic Action Imagery
image captionThe participants enjoyed seeing the family at Sandringham

It is understood the duke was not running in the event and was there in a private capacity.

A tweet from the Sandringham Estate said it was "sterling stuff from all the runners... despite the damp weather".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Prince William was born second in line to the throne at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on 21 June 1982.

He and the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, who he married in 2011, welcomed their first child George in 2013, followed by Charlotte in 2015 and Louis in 2018.

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