Starting gun is fired for fitness festival

July 11 2016

ON your marks, get set, go! These youngsters from Minerva Primary Academy in Fishponds have taken part in a running festival backed by a celebrity sports presenter.

Run

ON your marks, get set, go! These youngsters from Minerva Primary Academy in Fishponds have taken part in a running festival backed by a celebrity sports presenter.

Vassos Alexander joined forces with SkillForce, a national education charity, to launch a new running festival for schools.

Around 2,700 children at 45 primary and secondary schools across the country signed up to the Young Runners scheme, including Minerva Primary Academy in the Greenway.

Schools taking part organised runs between 1k and 5k during the charity’s Young Runners Festival fortnight from June 13-24.

Children could run, jog, walk or combine all three to get round the courses that took place on school playing fields and in local parks.

A total of 300 children, aged from five to 11, from Minerva Primary Academy held their event in the school grounds on June 23.

Peter Hallam, principal at Minerva Primary Academy, said: “The children were really excited to be take part. The older children have also had a great learning opportunity by helping to actually organise the event for the school. We also gave the children a goal to raise money for the Bristol Children’s Hospital by running as many laps as they could.”

SkillForce is a national education and veterans charity that works with more than 200 schools in England, Wales and Scotland delivering education programmes that help children and young people develop character, self confidence and resilience. 

SkillForce Young Runners is a pilot project that aims to give primary schoolchildren the chance to enjoy being active, develop resilience and aim for a goal. 

The charity plans to make the festival an annual fixture.

SkillForce ambassador Vassos Alexander is a keen runner who broadcasts to 10 million listeners daily on the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show. 

He said: “I know from experience what a positive influence running can be. I hope completing these runs gave the young people involved a great shot of confidence and a feeling of ‘I did it!’”