THE SUN shone as nearly 1,000 enthusiastic children from primary schools around the island took part in the Tesco Fun Run at the NSC.
After a fun warm up, the excited youngsters lined up to take part in the event, which was supported by 110-metre hurdles Olympic silver medallist and three times world champion Colin Jackson.
This is the first time the event has come to the island and the fantastic turn-out means it is one of the biggest fun runs in the UK.
Welsh athlete Colin, who will be carrying the Olympic torch in Swansea next week, stated that there were many potential athletes who had taken part in the race.
Dhoon School pupil Jessica Hill, 11, won the race – and her determination was clear to see as she completed two laps of the course. Colin was duly impressed by Jessica’s efforts and stated ‘she is a very good runner’.
Jessica, who trains three times a week with the Northern Athletic Club and hopes to be a runner in the future, was delighted to have won.
She said: ‘It was very good but some parts of it were really hard because you have to try and overtake people on the inside. Colin Jackson is amazing – it has been a really great day. I want to be like [heptathlete] Jessica Ennis.’
The pupils of all ages were delighted to receive a medal for their efforts after crossing the line. The schools included Onchan, Foxdale, Williston and many more.
More than 1.25 million children from across the UK will participate in similar events. As part of the two-kilometre run, the pupils will also be fundraising for Mary’s Meals, the official charity of the Tesco Great School Run.
Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Describing the event as ‘perfect’, Colin said: ‘It is an amazing event for young people. They now have a better understanding of what they can achieve.
The event 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.
‘They get really excited about the event and they really appreciate what we have done. I hope we can come again next year – let’s see if we can get more than 1,000 involved.’
Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Tim Crookall MHK took part in the warm-up and encouraged the children throughout the race. He said: ‘It was absolutely brilliant – what a follow-up to the Manx Youth Games at the weekend. The children loved it.’
It was Colin’s first visit to the island and he added: ‘The welcome here has been great. I didn’t realise it was so hilly. I will definitely come back. It is a fantastic place.’