Marathon challenge for youngsters

Young athletes from Shetland will be taking part in the World Marathon Challenge on 20th October.

They will join schools from 50 other countries to attempt to break the marathon world record time of two hours three minutes and 23 seconds.

The challenge is organised by Save the Children and involves running the full 26.2-mile marathon distance but in relay teams.

At 60 degrees latitude the Shetland team is further north than teams in Norway, Canada and Estonia.

Thirty-two schools from across Scotland have already signed up to compete in the race from Shetland to Stranraer.

Shetland Amateur Athletics Club chairwoman Elaine Park said: “The kids are really excited to be taking part in the World Marathon Challenge and it’s great that we can already claim the title of the most northerly team in the world.

“We hope to have at least two teams running so we’d love to be the fastest team in Scotland and maybe even break the world record. Hopefully we can raise lots of money for Save the Children too.”

The World Marathon Challenge began in 2008 and last year more than 20,000 children across 45 countries took part. School children will attempt to break the world record by running the full 26.2 miles in relay teams.

The challenge aims to raise money to help save children’s lives in the world’s poorest countries.

Save the Children spokesman Neil Mathers said: “The World Marathon Challenge is a fantastic event for children to get involved in. The great thing about this event is that schools don’t need to have a professional running track to take part – they can do it anywhere.

“This is a unique opportunity for children in Scotland to compete against schools all over the world. The team in Shetland will be competing against children running 11,000 miles away in New Zealand.

“Every year more than seven million children die from easily preventable causes like diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. By taking part in this event, children in Scotland can make a real difference to help their peers in poorer countries around the world.”

Since 2008 schools around the world have managed to beat the marathon world record with Kenyan children being the fastest, setting an time of 1:47:55.

Participants run 200m sections between six and nine times to make up the full marathon distance. Primary school pupils can take part in an alternative 1,500m challenge.


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