YOUNG sporting stars raced to the finish line to complete the city’s half marathon on Sunday.

About 250 pupils from seven primary schools across the county signed up to join the innaugral Schools Challenge event with their teachers.

Oxford Mail:

ALL SMILES: The youngsters get up speed along the course

Oxford Mail:

NEARLY THERE: Pupils are all smiles as they enjoy the occasion

Oxford Mail:

HANDS IN THE AIR: Competitors warming up

Oxford Mail:

GPING FOR IT: Nearing the end

They followed thousands of runners competing in the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon at the Kassam Stadium.

Young runners came from Wood Farm, Buckland CofE, Larkrise, Windmill, Blewbury, Bladon and Woodcote primary schools.

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Those aged between four and 11 covered a total of 12 miles before the half marathon, running one or two miles each week.

They then united for the challenge’s finale on Sunday, completing the last 1.1 miles, just after the Oxford Half Marathon runners began.

David Lewin, headteacher at Wood Farm Primary School, in Titup Hall Drive, said: “They all had a great time.

“Being involved in a big event like the half marathon, it’s very motivating and exciting for the children.”

The Headington school launched a running club for the runners to practice each week. Pupil Shay Pape, 10, said: “The best bit was the last bit when we have to sprint because you can try and beat other people, you can try and beat your friends.

“The school has never done this before and it was just a really good thing for children to do to get fit and energetic.”

Windmill Primary School headteacher Lynn Knapp said her pupils prepared for the event by running one mile for 12 days.

Year five pupil Ben Newbury, 9, said: “I found the running quite easy because I had been doing it for a while so I had got used to it. I want to do it again.”

All youngsters received a medal, goody bag and water bottle as they crossed the finish line.

Woodcote Primary School pupil Gemma Botham, 10, said: “It was quite scary at the start, I got butterflies in my stomach and when I started doing it I really enjoyed myself and when I went through the finish line I was really surprised that we got all that.”

Pupils raised money for charities including Schools Challenge partner Helen and Douglas House, in Magdalen Road.

Race director Andrew Taylor said: “In partnership with MINI Plant Oxford, we introduced the Schools Challenge to the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon this year to inspire the next generation of runners so it was fantastic to see hundreds of young people crossing the finish line with beaming smiles on their faces.

“We hope that being part of the event has helped them to catch the running bug and look forward to seeing some of them competing in the main race in years to come.”


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