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New virtual Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon opens to UK's primary schools

Primary schools across the UK are invited to become part of the world’s greatest marathon in the first virtual Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, aimed at inspiring children to get active.

The event traditionally features more than 1,600 young runners aged 11-17, representing the London boroughs and regions across the UK, racing over the last three miles of the famous London Marathon course.

Instead, this year children are asked to run 2.6 miles between Monday 28 September to Friday 9 October. The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday 4 October with elite races in St James’s Park and 45,000 people in the UK and around the world running the 26.2 mile distance on the course of their choice between 00:00 – 23:59:59 BST.

Schools can register and all participating schools will be provided with resources to promote the event in their school, including a running number, posters and a special message from an athlete. Every child that completes the challenge will receive anofficial Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon finisher medal and certificate. It is all free of charge.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: "The statistics on the increase in obesity levels in children during primary school years are truly shocking and lockdown has meant that a significant number of children have returned to school after many months of little or no physical activity. Activity levels plummeted from 47% of school children active for the recommended 60 minutes a day to only 19%.

"We are working to inspire 45,000 children to take part in this new virtual Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon. Being physically active improves health and fitness and supports good mental health and wellbeing.

"For the past two years, we have been working in partnership with the Mayor of London to introduce The Daily Mile into London’s primary schools and now more than 800 schools across the capital have signed up to this initiative which encourages children run or jog for 15 minutes each day from classroom door to classroom door with no need to change or use any equipment. The Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon is the equivalent of three Daily Miles."

Jo Barnett, Executive Director at Virgin Money Giving, said: "It’s fantastic that children all across the UK are being invited to take part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon this year. It’s vital that we can do all we can to encourage young people to be active, especially when lockdown has affected everyone’s ability to get out and exercise.

"We hope schools will consider taking part in this unique event that will not only help keep our young people fit and healthy but will also be great fun."

The Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon is for children of all abilities – and the distance can be completed over two days, three days or longer. Some children will run all the time, others might jog or even walk for a period to get their breath back. Disabled children can complete the event in the way that meets their needs – whether that’s walking, pushing, being pushed, walking with crutches or any other way. Some older children may be able to complete the whole distance in one session.

Full details are available on the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon website

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