Virtual London Mini-Marathon opened up to primary schools

There will be no mass start this year, but the 2020 virtual London Mini Marathon will be open to primary school children

Cancelled because of covid-19 in April, the 2020 London Mini-Marathon could now be the biggest road running event for kids ever staged, as the organisers aim to get 45,000 youngsters from across the country to run 2.6 miles in a virtual event, with every child to receive a cherished finisher’s medal and certificate.

The event usually features more than 1,600 young runners aged 11 to 17 representing the London boroughs and regions across the UK, racing over the last three miles of the London Marathon course.

This year, children of all abilities are being asked to run 2.6 miles, whether in one go or spread out over two or three days, between Monday September 28 and Friday October 9.

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday October 4 with elite races around St James’s Park, while 45,000 people around the world will be running the 26 miles 385 yards “virtually”, on the course of their choice.

For the Mini-Marathon, schools can register here and all participating schools will be provided with resources to promote the event, including a running number, posters and a special message from an athlete. Every child that completes the challenge will receive an official Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon finisher medal and certificate.

And it is all free of charge.

The organisers say that their approach has been influenced by concerns over rising obesity levels among primary school-aged children, and the apparent drop in physical activity by children during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Mini-Marathon is usually fiercely contested by some of the borough’s top runners. This year, all children can take part

Even before coronavirus, only 47 per cent of children undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Since March this year, only 19 per cent of children have done their daily hour of play and activity, something Hugh Brasher, the event director of the London Marathon, described as “truly shocking”.

He said, “We are working to inspire 45,000 children to take part in this new virtual Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon. Being physically active improves health and fitness and supports good mental health and wellbeing.

“For the past two years, we have been working in partnership with the Mayor of London to introduce The Daily Mile into London’s primary schools and now more than 800 schools across the capital have signed up to this initiative which encourages children run or jog for 15 minutes each day from classroom door to classroom door with no need to change or use any equipment.

“The Mini-Marathon is the equivalent of three Daily Miles.”

According to the organisers, “The Mini-Marathon is for children of all abilities – and the distance can be completed over two days, three days or longer. Some children will run all the time, others might jog or even walk for a period to get their breath back. Disabled children can complete the event in the way that meets their needs – whether that’s walking, pushing, being pushed, walking with crutches or any other way. Some older children may be able to complete the whole distance in one session.”

Full details are available on the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon website here.

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