CHILDREN who run a mile a day are this week hoping to inspire pupils from other schools to follow in their footsteps.
So far pupils from 82 schools in Greater Manchester regularly run “The Daily Mile”™ – the initiative credited with making primary school pupils fitter, more resilient, happier, healthier and more focused in lessons – but there are thousands who haven’t yet had the opportunity to take it up.
“We need to change that,” said Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who showed his support by running The Daily Mile at Oakfield Primary School in Hyde. “It would be great if all children across Greater Manchester were active for at least 15 minutes every day.”
GreaterSport, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and Greater Manchester Headteachers’ Alliance have now joined forces to actively encourage all schools to implement this profoundly simple, but effective initiative.
“We love The Daily Mile because it’s fun, energising and inclusive without being competitive,” one school commented when asked why they like The Daily Mile. “Everyone takes part with a smile on their face.”
On Friday (September 22) Elaine Wyllie, who founded The Daily Mile, and Olympic gold medallist Nicola White will be in Manchester to celebrate what has been achieved so far – and inspire some of the 700 plus schools, which currently don’t run The Daily Mile, to sign up.
“It really is so easy,” said Elaine. “Children love running. All they need is somewhere to do it. So we are hoping Friday will be a catalyst for change and encourage more schools to give it a go.”
So far more than 40,000 children from 155 schools, representing all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, have signed up to run The Daily Mile in their own playgrounds on Friday as part of a Daily Mile celebration event in Manchester.
“Although all the schools won’t be in the same venue, it will be brilliant to have the sense of thousands of children doing the mile on the same day,” said Matt Stocks, Senior Development Manager at GreaterSport.
More than 250,000 young people – an estimated 68% of 5 to 15 year olds – across Greater Manchester currently are not getting enough exercise every day, according to guidelines set by the Chief Medical Officer.
“We need to get Greater Manchester moving,” said Mr Burnham.
Scotland was the birthplace of The Daily Mile: a daily, 15-minute burst of physical activity that’s been shown to improve children’s physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing.
Since that first, 15-minute run in 2012, about 600,000 children in more than 3,000 primary schools worldwide now run almost two million miles a week.
“The Daily Mile has been described by so many as a ‘no brainer’ because it offers a wealth of health and well-being benefits to children at a critical time in their development,” said Elaine. “My hope is that this initiative will be formally endorsed for all UK schools just as it has been in Scotland.”
INEOS, which owns a manufacturing site in Runcorn in neighbouring Cheshire, is a proud supporter of Elaine’s campaign, and has been quietly investing its time, energy and money since 2016.
And that support is paying off.
Children from more than 3,000 UK schools now run The Daily Mile, and, thanks to support from the Belgian and Dutch Governments, so do pupils from more than 700 schools in Belgium and 155 in The Netherlands. The scheme is also being championed by teachers in Sweden, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the US – and its appeal is being felt in far-flung places such as Kuwait, Hawaii and Indonesia.
Schools wanting to be a part of the Greater Manchester event on Friday should sign up to do their mile on September 22 at www.greatersport.co.uk/dailymile
In doing so, they will also be in with a chance of winning money for sports equipment and a school visit by a top athlete.
Read more: Schools urged to sign up to GM Daily Mile celebrations
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