THOUSANDS of schoolchildren put on their running shoes and completed a one kilometre course at Homefield Park, Worthing, on Tuesday.
The third day of the ‘Run the World’ event, organised by Grounded Events and sponsored by Southern Water, saw 3,300 Worthing schoolchildren help to cover a combined total distance of more than 7,474km – the distance from Sydney to Hanoi.
Tom Naylor, the managing director of Grounded Events, said: “It’s absolutely outstanding. There’s no competition to it, there’s no timing, there’s no bar set, if you finish you succeed.
“You’re in your class, you’re in your year group, you don’t do something often as an entire school. They are immensely proud they have done 1,000 metres.”
The previous two dates of the event saw nearly 5,000 schoolchildren from Brighton and Hove run one kilometre around Preston Park and Hove Park.
Worthing deputy mayor Michael Donin said: “I support the concept of getting the children away from their TV screens and computer screens. By participating today they are able to demonstrate that. As far as I’m concerned I feel very proud that I have been asked to be here. I would like to commend the organisers of this event.”
Councillor Val Turner, the Worthing Borough Council cabinet member for health and well-being, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham Tim Loughton and Geoff Loader, Southern Water’s communication director, ran the course, alongside children from Broadwater CofE Middle School.
Mr Loughton said: “It’s a great idea. Lots of kids all ages and abilities engaged and are all having a good time on a lovely sunny day. We need kids to be doing more of this all year round. Well done to the organisers and Southern Water. I very rarely watch from the sides, it’s good to take part.”
Mrs Turner added: “It’s wonderful to have all the kids here getting them out and getting them active.”
Run the World, which is free of charge, serves as a taster for the Mini Mile Races which take place the day before the Brighton Marathon and are open to all schoolchildren between the ages of seven and 17.
Donna Pulling, PE co-ordinator at Broadwater CofE Middle School, said: “It’s brilliant. The children are really excited and it’s really well run. We did it last year so we definitely knew we were going to come back.”
Students from Chesswood Middle School were among some of the first schoolchildren to finish the course.
AJ Velasco, ten, said: “At first it felt easy but once you started getting tired it gets harder.”
Natasha Ryan, ten, added that it was fun but a bit tiring.