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Start Running Stay Running and the Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP) are inviting secondary school teachers to join them on their mission to introduce running to teenagers to promote the benefits running brings, not only to improve physical wellbeing but also with mental health and the pressures that teenagers face, especially in the time leading up to their GCSEs. 

Taking pupils along on the 5K journey

The idea behind ‘#5Kmyway’ is to encourage teachers who would like to achieve a 5K run, to take up the invitation to join the Coached to 5K programme by Start Running Stay Running and bring a team of pupils along on their journey. With the teacher as a newbie runner, this allows an even playing field with no one being an expert, but instead, a teacher and pupil(s) learning to run together.

The Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership are delighted to be working on this project and will be sponsoring 20 teachers to complete the Coached to 5K programme which starts at the end of January.  Each participant will encourage 10 students to take on the challenge with them, creating an activity together which will allow time to chat, develop relationships alongside improving mental and physical wellbeing.  Both Teacher and student (s) will earn a beautiful 5K medal when they graduate at the end of the programme.

Cofounder of Start Running Stay Running, Linda Meek says;  “ The mission behind #5kmyway is for teachers and pupils alike to feel the benefits of running.  By allowing themselves time away from the classroom, taking in the fresh air and working towards a goal together will not only bring mental and physical health benefits but will also help to build relationships that might ordinarily not happened.”

Emmie Kay, Head Run Coach at Start Running Stay Running will be working with the teachers and students, but running was not always a thing for her. “I was picked for a 300-metre race at school and at the time I was the last person you would pick for running.  I was unfit, disengaged with sport and had little inspiration in the field. I remember taking my place at the start line, hearing the whistle and running as fast as I could… and I came second! I was beyond happy with coming second ignited something inside me that hadn’t been there before.  Now running is what makes me get up in the morning, running is MY thing and I am looking forward to helping others realise that it can be their thing too.”

Worrying teenage health statisics

The statistics surrounding the health of our teenagers have worsened over the past couple of years.  In a survey by the Mental Health Organisation, 27% of British teenagers said they ‘felt nervous anxious or on edge’ and also felt ‘easily annoyed or irritable on most days in the previous fortnight.

Add into the equation, the pressure of exams, exposure to negative social media, plus the pressure to fit in and be accepted, and it can all feel too much.  A lot of children simply blend into the background and become invisible, dealing with things on their own with no outlet to let off steam and work through their thoughts.

The latest report by Sport England shows that there is a ‘clear association between loneliness and activity levels, with those who were active least likely to feel lonely often/always and those less active the most likely to. Loneliness within the younger age groups is really alarming in the Somerset data, with 33% stating they sometimes/ often/ always feel lonely’.

The impact of Covid-19 had a huge impact on activity on all of us. Ironically, running was still something people could do and the uptake of the Couch to 5K app in June 2020 was up 95% on the previous year. 

Starting off 2022 with a better YOU!

Nancy Murdoch, Children & Young People’s Strategic Manager said,  “Going into 2022, we are keen to get more young people involved in exercise and particularly running to benefit from the physical and mental benefits it brings.  Going through years 10 & 11 can be particularly stressful, and we know that #5kmyway will make a huge difference, providing that much needed thinking time away from the revision and laptops.”

L-R Michelle Pattenden (Mindset Coach), Emmie Kay (Head Run Coach) & Linda Meek (SRSR co-founder).

Want to find out more?

If you are a secondary school teacher in Somerset and would like to apply for the January 5K programme ‘Coached to 5K’ as part of the #5Kmyway initiative, you can apply directly or contact Linda Meek on info@startrunningstayrunning.co.uk for more details and to arrange a call.

If you would like to know more about being ‘coached’ to 5k in the January cohort, take a click here… Coached to 5K.