Children taking part in Marathon Kids, a fitness event with a Hallowe'en theme and a run around Astley Park, Chorley.

Speaker of the House of Commons champions spooky Marathon Kids event in Chorley

The Speaker of the House of Commons championed more than 50 Chorley children as they took part in a Hallowe'en-themed Marathon Kids event.

By Laura Longworth
Thursday, 5th November 2020, 3:45 pm

Sir Lindsay Hoyle cheered on the participants at Astley Park on Saturday and praised the efforts of Chorley race directors Neil Simpson and Roz Hargreaves, and their team of volunteers who helped to deliver the event.

Sir Hoyle said: "Marathon Kids is great, a superb idea to bring young people together, getting them involved, getting them fit, but it’s also about our needs at the moment. Health and well-being is a major problem. It’s about the commitment of Neil and everyone else, recognising Marathon Kids now as it continues to expand and continues to grow, with more and more people becoming involved.

"It’s that challenge, it’s bringing us together, holding us together, giving us a purpose. It’s about a community spirit, and whatever people might say, as bad as the pandemic is, the one thing it’s given us is a community spirit that I believe we’d lost. That community spirit is back, we’ve got to keep it, we’ve got to get beyond this and make sure we can have some normality in the future."

Marathon Kids in Chorley has grown rapidly since it began, with children of a variety of ages coming together to warm up with some engaging games led by Programme Manager Christopher McShane, before being set off in waves around a 250m course.

Mr McShane, a former primary school teacher, said: "It was fantastic to see Sir Lindsay here, supporting Marathon Kids and this brilliant event in his constituency. He spoke with such passion and energy, and it gave the children a cracking send off before they started their exercise.

"Last Saturday’s Marathon Kids events were the last we’ll be able to do until the second lockdown ends on December 2, which is incredibly disappointing because we are determined to help the physical and mental health of children across the country. Thankfully, Marathon Kids in schools can still continue, and we’d urge parents and children to ask teachers to sign up their school to our programmes. This is a critical time for our young people, and we must keep children active."

Children who took part in the event in Chorley were treated to a sausage and chips post-run lunch, courtesy of local business Oh My Cod, who had also been one of the first organisations in the region to supply free school meal replacements during the half-term break following Marcus Rashford’s plea to the government.

Mr Hoyle added: "I can’t thank them (Oh My Cod) enough because they’re providing and playing a part in their local community as well, giving their time, giving their food to feed the kids. Marcus Rashford is right: we have to make sure kids don’t go without food, it’s so important to us, but we’re very lucky that our community pulls together well.

"This is about the people and the community coming together and I think that’s important. It’s not just about young people exercising and people getting involved, it’s about team spirit because it is a big team effort but it’s also about a community pulling together in these sad times.

"It (exercise for mental health) is very important. The fact is we need young people to exercise, but it’s also about mental health and well-being – a lack of exercise has an impact and I’m very worried about people in lockdown not exercising, [as well as] obesity and the impact all of that has on mental health. That isolation is dangerous not only from an obesity point of view but also from a mental health and well-being perspective,’

Anyone with an interest in the programme in schools should send an email to [email protected] or visit www.marathonkids.co.uk for more details.

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