Voluntary School Running Clubs

by Juliette

A little over three years ago I was approached by a fellow parent of my children’s school (Olveston School) who asked if I could help set up a school running club. I went home considered it and thought what a great idea. Being passionate about fitness I thought potentially this could be a great opportunity to break down so many physical barriers that prevent young children taking part in quality physical activity.

As we are all very much aware child obesity is on the increase at an alarming rate. The World Health Organization (WHO) regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century.

The latest figures, for 2013/14, show that 19.1% of children in Year 6 (aged 10-11) were obese and a further 14.4% were overweight. Of children in Reception (aged 4-5), 9.5% were obese and another 13.1% were overweight. This means a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds were overweight or obese. (Public Health England) http://www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/child_obesity.

The running club has now been “up and running!” for over three years and has been so successful in a number of ways. We regularly have 35 – 45 kids attend every Wednesday morning before school, 0800 – 0830hrs, that is nearly a third of key stage two. Many of the children have gained enough confidence to join local running clubs, a few have gone on to represent the county in cross country and two have represented the South West in national events.

The club is run on a very simple model; we have 6 sessions that we rotate around throughout the term, the session is only 30 minutes in duration, we only need 3 volunteers to run the sessions, the outdoor training area used is the school field, approximately 60 x 60 meters and all the sessions are held in this space.

So many children benefit from this opportunity to learn how to run, train and build their confidence. All it requires is four or five willing volunteers. The willing volunteers benefit by seeing the smiley faces, growth in confidence and fit, active kids develop through their primary school years.

Mojo Active would like to offer anyone interested in setting up a running club in their children’s primary school the training and support needed to do so. If we receive enough interest we will provide an afternoon of training to give anyone the confidence and basic knowledge to set up a running club in their school. The training and advice would be free, it would be held here at Mojo Active for a couple of hours one afternoon.