The Schools Half Marathon Primary Schools Challenge has been a huge success in its first official year, where it took place as part of Shrewsbury Half Marathon.
Saturday 16th June 2018 saw 900 children from 21 schools complete their Primary Schools Challenge in front of hundreds of spectators at Shropshire County Showground. They ran the last 1.1 miles of their cumulative half marathon, which they had been working towards at school over the previous weeks and months, and there were scenes of celebration as they crossed the finish line in their bright orange race t-shirts and were awarded medals for their incredible effort.
What really made the day was the fact that the young runners were treated to a full race experience including race bibs, a marshalled route, music and a start and finish line gantry. For many, it was the first time they had experienced the thrill of a big sporting event – and this time they themselves were the stars! Hundreds of proud parents, siblings, grandparents and teachers were there to cheer them on and the atmosphere was superb.
The Schools Half Marathon Primary Schools Challenge was piloted in 2017 with two schools entering 75 children for the event. It was such a success that the challenge was opened up for all in 2018, and many schools have already confirmed their participation in 2019.
The great thing is that the challenge can be repeated year after year, encouraging the young runners to keep up their active lifestyle and have a fun and inclusive event to work towards. Many will see their times improve as they get stronger and fitter, and they’ll gain all-round confidence and resilience in the process.
At a time when many kids are leading a more sedentary lifestyle than their elders, the Schools Half Marathon Primary School Challenge is an exciting way to encourage physical activity and mental wellbeing. Organisers UK Run Events are looking forward to extending the challenge to many more regions across the UK, so that primary school children across the country can join in the fun and earn themselves a medal to be proud of.