TOP runners from Helsby High School will take part in the first-ever International Schools Marathon Relay Challenge – an exciting new concept in children’s athletics devised by Frodsham sports supremo, George Bunner.
The school, which helped to develop the challenge, will field four boys, four girls and two reserves from Year 7 for the pilot event to be staged on October 15 at Manchester’s Sport City.
They will form part of the Manchester team, made up of 11-year-old pupils from schools throughout the city simultaneously racing against counterparts in London, Madrid, Valencia, Toronto and West Virginia.
Teams will cover a 26 miles 385 yards marathon distance by running more than 105 laps of a 400-metre track – and will also be attempting to beat the world marathon record times of Paula Radcliffe (2hrs 15min 25sec) and Haile Gebrselassie (2hrs 3min 59sec)
Although they will run at separate venues, each team will be kept aware of others’ progress, as team lap times will be displayed to them via an internet link.
Each team member will have to run six or seven times over a 200 metre stretch in a continuous relay and the Helsby school runners are Tom Brady, Charlie Fletcher, Luke Noble-Smith, Richie McGeachie, Rupert Ellis, Martha Cotterall, Kate Merrill, Sophie Ellison, Katy Morgan and Jess Parsons.
George Bunner, 76, founded Frodsham Harriers and still works closely with them to develop and improve sports opportunities for youngsters. He said he was delighted Helsby High School was fielding runners next week.
“The Spaniards were impressed with the concept which has since been adopted by schools in Madrid and Valencia, and they invited the Amateur Athletics Association and England Athletics to arrange for two English cities to race against children, via the internet.”