Pictured taking part in the GORunforFun from left to right are Mrs Evans; Amelia, Afeeya and Faris.

With childhood obesity and activity levels increasingly in focus, running is an increasingly popular exercise. This summer more than 2,400 schoolchildren took part in a 2km fun run in Battersea Park organised by GO Run For Fun conjunction with the Daily Mile. Time & Leisure Junior went along to find out more about the event and to speak with some of the participants.

St Paul’s C of E Primary School Chessington was one of the early adopters of the Daily Mile. It integrated the Daily Mile into the school day three years ago and it has become a positive fixture for all pupils. The format is that children jog, run or walk for 15 minutes every day.

Healthy competition

“We can track our progress,” explains 11-year old Faris. “We shout our name out as we go past the teacher and they count how many laps we have done each time. It gives us a bit of healthy competition and keeps us fit.”

Afeeya and Amelia, both 11, explained that they have been able to see improvements in their fitness and had gradually increased the number of laps that they were able to run. “I sometimes practise with my family at home and we all take part,” added Amelia.

Headteacher Mrs Evans explained that including regular exercise in the school day has shown many benefits. “We have seen a huge improvement in stamina. When we go out school trips we can see that our infants can walk so much further.”

Building stronger relationships

St Paul’s was one of the first schools to adopt the Daily Mile within the borough of Kingston and it has been keen to use it as a platform to build stronger relationships with other local schools.

Working within its local cluster, St Paul’s has seen its children complete the Daily Mile with Year 6 children from other schools. It has even taken Year 6 children to complete the Daily Mile alongside Year 7 children from Southborough High School, providing a link and smoothing the transition to secondary school.

Focus on mindfulness

However, the Daily Mile isn’t just about exercise. St Paul’s has found a way to combine it with a focus on mindfulness. Children are encouraged to use the time to think about how to complete tasks that they have been set in the classroom, or to use the time for quiet reflection.

Afeeya, Amelia and Faris all successfully completed their 2km run in Battersea Park as part of GO Run for Fun, as did all the Year 5 and 6 children of St Paul’s. Running – whether it is for fun, for exercise or for some time to reflect – is an integral part of the school day.