Star's fly into Belfast for UK's Biggest Fun Run
Popular TV presenter, Helen Skelton and Olympian athlete Colin Jackson, touched down in Belfast’s Stormont Park on Tuesday 8th May on the first stop of a helicopter tour of the country, launching the UK’s biggest fun run – the eighth Tesco Great School Run.
The celebrities will cheer on hundreds of youngsters and their parents from local schools, as they complete the two kilometre run, in Stormont Park.
The stars’ visit to Belfast will be the first in a number of helicopter stops across the country, to give young runners taking part in the Tesco Great School Run a last minute boost before the big event.
Over 1.25 million children from across the UK will participate in their own run, between May 8 and July 23. Now in its eighth year, the event, organised by those behind the iconic Great North Run and Tesco, encourages children and their parents to get fit and healthy through exercise and healthy eating. As part of the run, the pupils will also be fundraising for Mary’s Meals, the official charity of the Tesco Great School Run.
Helen Skelton, who is well-known for her role as a Blue Peter presenter, will visit Stormont Park to inspire pupils today. Helen said: “The Tesco Great School Run is a great way to get children excited about running and enjoying sports. It’s fantastic to be involved and to see so many children from the local area coming together and taking part in the fun run.”
This year’s run is also supported by famous faces, including Commonwealth Marathon Champion, John Kelai, world champion sprinter, Jamie Baulch; British middle distance runner, Hannah England; award winning middle and long distance runner, Helen Clitheroe and TV presenter and Olympic sprinter Natasha Danvers.
Colin Jackson, who has worked with Tesco on the project since its origins, enthused: “Today is all about getting children engaged in exercise, talking about healthy eating and having fun along the way. In a year where sport takes centre stage, it’s great to see kids enthusiastic about learning and taking part in sport and exercise.”
Paul Close, PE / After Schools Co-ordinator at St. Ita’s Primary School, said: “We are delighted to take part in the Tesco Great School Run. The event has really captured the children’s imagination – highlighting the importance of exercise and healthy eating.
This year at St. Ita’s we have been focusing on sport and its importance in the wider curriculum and the children are getting very excited to take part in the run. They are all raring to go and it has been a great experience for everyone involved.”
Ruth Girardet, Tesco Corporate Responsibility and Community Director, said: “We want to encourage children to get active and the Tesco Great School Run is a great opportunity for people across the country to get outdoors, get fit and above all, enjoy keeping healthy.
“It just goes to show that sport and exercise can be an extremely fun part of everyday life and it’s brilliant to see that with over 1.25 million participants, more children than ever are taking part this year.”
Elaine Grant, Coaching and Development Manager at Northern Ireland Athletics, said: “Athletics Northern Ireland are extremely pleased to be working alongside the Tesco Great School Run Team again for the second year.
“We are thrilled to be giving our local primary school children the chance to take part in the exciting Helicopter Tour and meet the celebrity guest, as well as taking part in a 2km fun run around our stunning location at Stormont. It is excellent to be involved with such a high profile event and we hope that we can get as many local children as possible to enjoy the experience.”
The event will move to Derry on Wednesday 9th May where local children will take part in the school run again and Athletrics NI President Gerry Lynch will be in attendance.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, said: “Belfast City Council fully supports the Tesco Great School Run, which encourages young people to take up exercise, eat properly and get fit. There are some great sporting heroes backing the run and I hope that many of our young people will be inspired by them to take up the challenge.”
Registration is open until Friday 25 May 2012 to schools only and teachers are encouraged to sign up online at www.greatschoolrun.org.
Schools that register will receive a teachers' pack through the post containing race numbers, a poster and a teachers’ guide. Schools that complete the Tesco Great School Run will be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win sports equipment and kit or VIP Great North Run and Junior Great Run experiences.