Nike and Kids Run Free, a UK charity, have officially launched their Marathon Kids programme nationwide, after successful pilots across 30 London schools. These pilots have seen almost 9,500 kids run 65,000 km – or the equivalent of 1,500 marathons – already this school year.
The national launch event took place at Chobham Academy in East London, and it was attended by a host of athletics stars, including British Paralympic medallist David Weir and junior athletics champions Shona Richards and Sabrina Bakare.
David Weir is a huge supporter of the Marathon Kids programme and said: “As a father myself, I know how important it is to give kids a chance to get moving. Marathon Kids is a great way for schools to get kids running – it’s simple, any child can do it and every child can benefit from it. I’d encourage any school to give their pupils a chance to become Marathon Kids.”
Today’s generation of children is the least active ever. Only one-in-five boys and one-in-six girls in England meeting current guidelines of at least one hour of moderately intensive physical activity every day. This means that children today may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, living five years less than them.
Yet evidence shows that active kids do better. Amongst other social and wellbeing benefits – including improved self-esteem and social skills – physically active children achieve up to 40% higher test scores and are 15% more likely to continue to higher education.
That’s why, in September 2016, Nike and Kids Run Free joined forces to bring running programme Marathon Kids, to UK primary schools. This unique programme, which has already been rolled out to 30 schools in London, provides kids aged 4 to 12 years-old with a fun running experience, helping them to get active early and for life.
Marathon Kids uses effective tools such as goal setting, self-tracking, role models, rewards and celebration moments, alongside excellent support for parents and teachers, to help children achieve their potential. Eventually, children involved in the programme run the equivalent of up to four marathons over the course of a school year.
By setting their own realistic goals in the programme, children are inspired and empowered to take part and this habit sets them up to continue their personal growth in later life.
Schools get direct support from Kids Run Free to set up their programme. Each school has access to a web-based tracking system to follow children’s progress. Teachers receive a guide on how to get kids running, as well as kilometre logs and certificates. Schools also have the option of purchasing additional Starter Kits and rewards from Kids Run Free, with a donation going to the charity. These rewards include Nike-branded stickers, wristbands and medals.
Kids Run Free has a proven track record of delivering running programmes in schools and parks across the country and has already helped to get over 50,000 children running regularly, achieving their own marathons one day at a time. It hopes to reach even more UK children in the 2017/18 school year, by expanding its existing partnership with Nike – Marathon Kids – nationwide.
“We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with Kids Run Free to get more kids across the UK active through the Marathon Kids programme,” said Dan Burrow, Senior Director for Global Community Impact Europe at Nike. “At Nike, we believe sport has the power to move the world and unleash human potential. But we know that today’s generation of kids is the least active ever. That’s why we’re excited to be expanding this partnership nationally, because we know active kids are happier, healthier and more successful.”
For more information and to find out how your school can sign up to Marathon Kids, please visit www.marathonkids.co.uk.
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