Did you know it is up to individual schools to determine how much time is devoted to the provision of physical education (PE)? With a minimum recommendation of just two hours PE per week and alarming statistics regarding rising levels of childhood obesity, it is heartening to hear of the success of the nationwide Schools Half Marathon programme.
show that just under a quarter of children in England aged 4 to 5 years were classed as overweight, rising to 34.3% at 10 to 11 years (equivalent to nearly 200,000 children). The most worrying trend is an increase by more than a third in the rate of severe obesity in year 6 children (aged 10-11) to 4.2%, the highest recorded since 2006/07.
Recognising the need to put the physical back into PE and the fun back into running for our children we now have the brilliant initiative of the Schools Half Marathon, organised by UK Running Events
the live events channel of #UKRunChat.
Before you phone Childline or the NSPCC we should point out that no children involved run 13.1 miles in one go! Schools Half Marathon was launched in Shropshire as part of Shrewsbury Half Marathon weekend and after putting 12 miles 'in the bank' at primary schools, more than 1,800 children from 32 schools ran the final 1.1 miles of their cumulative half marathon at Shropshire County Showground on 6 April (see picture).
Schools Half Marathon is very much an inclusive and non-competitive challenge for children of all abilities, offering plenty of incentives along the way to keep the youngsters motivated and encouraging healthy, life-changing habits. With the support of leading ethical water brand One Water, the 2019 programme has since been rolled out to Telford & Wrekin (15 June), Brighton and Hove (22 June), Stockport (1July) and West Sussex (14th July).
The Brighton finale will take place in and around the superb Withdean Stadium, with full race experience including race number bibs, marshalled route, music, commentary and finish line gantry, plus a well-earned medal and carton of water for all finishers.
Schools Half Marathon director, Joe Williams said: “We are thrilled to launch Brighton & Hove Primary Schools Half Marathon and to have secured the excellent stadium at Withdean for race day in June. It is fantastic to get local primary school children started on their very own half marathon challenge and reward them as they complete their miles. Schools Half Marathon is a great way to get kids outside and away from screens, with the incentive of a fun, shared activity and an exciting end goal.”
Images courtesy Schools Half Marathon