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Chris Thompson at The Vitality Big Half 2021




Olympian Chris Thompson inspires schoolchildren

But not every race is about winning, sometimes the most important thing is keeping going and not giving up. That’s why running is so important, and I think it can teach you things about life: take part, try hard and don’t give up.

Chris Thompson

Joining the children in a run around, Chris – slightly stiff-legged from a 10K race the day before – was impressed with their enthusiasm. “They were quick – the little ones were taking me by surprise with a bit of Fartlek training, putting in some sprints and catching me off guard.

“It’s great to see everyone outside and running and being part of the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon in schools. Running is my passion and you can see how important this is for children – it makes them happy and gives them energy. It takes away any worries you have. I always say you never regret going for a run – you always feel better, no matter how hard or easy a run is.”

Chris was joined by some of the inspirational staff at Tower Hill, who run regularly themselves, as well as making sure running is a normal part of the school day. He met teaching assistant John Kennedy, who will be running the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon this year – the seventh time he has completed the event, and his 107th marathon overall, including one last year where he completed 184.4 laps of the school field, cheered on by the pupils and raising more than £7,000 for the school.

Tower Hill Primary is one of many schools taking part in the 2021 Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon in schools. The event gives children of all ages and abilities to be part of the biggest marathon in the world. They are invited to run, jog or walk 2.6 miles (a spin on the marathon distance of 26 miles!) however they want. The distance can be done in one go or split up into chunks, depending on the age and abilities of the children.

Headteacher Laura Ovenden said her school had been inspired by the visit. “It’s not every day you get an Olympian coming to say hello, so this was incredibly special for everyone here at Tower Hill. Chris is an inspiration and was brilliant with the children – it’s something they will remember for the rest of their lives.

“We really want our children to be happy and healthy and that’s why we are taking part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon in schools, it’s perfect for our children. They get outside and are active and every child can take part and complete the 2.6 miles in their own way. Even the staff get involved so it’s great for everyone.’

The event was created in 2020 when 100,000 children took part and is all about inspiring children and young people of all ages and abilities to be physically active.

The aim in 2021 is for 500,000 school children across the UK to take on the challenge.

Everyone who participates will receive a free commemorative pin badge and be able to download running numbers, posters, certificates, and videos, to help get the London Marathon buzz going at their school.

You can find out more about the event and how schools can sign up on our Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon in schools webpage.