Children from East London schools enjoy range of track and field activities at the event
Olympic track and field stars of the past and, potentially, the future led sessions for excited school pupils at the first ever Athletics for All event organised by the Lloyd Cowan Bursary in conjunction with London Marathon Events.
Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 Olympic 400m champion, Tony Jarrett, a multiple World Championships medallist in 110m hurdles and 4x100m relay and John Herbert, who represented Great Britain at both summer and winter Olympic Games, were among the stars putting youngsters through their paces at the London Marathon Community Track at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Tuesday 11 July.
Children from primary schools across East London attended the inaugural Athletics for All event which was created to inspire activity among under-represented young people and to increase awareness of the Lloyd Cowan Bursary.
Lloyd Cowan was an international hurdler and world-leading coach who helped Ohuruogu, among others, to achieve great success on the global stage. He died in January 2021 and the bursary in his name was set up later that year to support the next generation of UK athletes and coaches, especially those for whom cost is a barrier to achieving their potential in the sport.
One beneficiary of a Lloyd Cowan Bursary is Noah Hanson, who has recently been crowned the English Schools 110m hurdles champion and will be representing England at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago next month.
Hanson attended the Bobby Moore Academy, which neighbours the London Marathon Community, and whose Year 7 pupils were among those enjoying the Athletics for All sessions.
The sessions, which started with a warm-up by Ohuruogu, included running, jumping and throwing, all led by expert coaches.
London Marathon Events helped the Lloyd Cowan Bursary deliver the event as part of its commitment to providing opportunities for children and young people to be physically active.
Lloyd Cowan Bursary trustee and 2008 Olympic Games 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu said: “This was one of the first events held by the Lloyd Cowan Bursary and it was a great day. Lloyd Cowan loved sport and he loved helping a great range of people, whether they were youngsters or elite headaches like me! It’s a nice celebration of what Lloyd did for sport and hopefully a great introduction for these youngsters to what we love, so they can get involved.
“London Marathon Events (LME) have been involved in this event from the get-go, and been unwavering in their support. The London Marathon is a global institution so it’s really nice that LME believes in something we also believe very strongly in.”
Layla Hall, London Marathon Events Schools Engagement Manager, said: “London Marathon Events was delighted to help the Lloyd Cowan Bursary put on the first ever Athletics for All event. We want all children and young people to have opportunities to enjoy physical activity and to be inspired to continue enjoying sport and being active as they grow up. Athletics for All was both fun and inspirational thanks to the incredible team of coaches from the Lloyd Cowan Bursary. We hope the pupils who took part now start on a journey of activity, whether that is just enjoying sport in school or striving to be the next Christine Ohuruogu.”
Noah Hanson, the reigning senior boys English Schools 110m hurdles champion and a recipient of a Lloyd Cowan Bursary grant, said: “Events like Athletics for All are so important, I’m really enjoying myself here today. It’s important to do things like this to inspire the next generation; it’s key – the next Usain Bolt could be here, you just never know.”