What I Learned by Visiting Three Schools

What I Learned by Visiting Three Schools

As an ambassador for Marathon Kids I had the pleasure of visiting three school in South County Dublin last week, East Lucan Educate Together, Talbot N.S in Clondalkin and St. Kevin’s NS Kilnamanagh.

I always enjoy visiting schools because it brings back a lot of happy memories for me. I loved my time in primary school and if I’m honest, the teachers I crossed paths with over 20 years ago have played an influential role in my development not only as an athlete but also as a person.

As you can guess running was and is a major part of my life, and it all started in primary school. This week I met over 300 hundred kids who are taking part in the Marathon Kids programme. Currently in week 5 of 8 the distances per day was 1,400m which to be fair is a long way, remember I’m only familiar to 400 metres, but what struck me was the entusiasim and the excitement of the challenge. The reason for this I believe is that the students have made steady progress over the last 4 weeks which has given them the confidence to take on a longer distance.

Another thing that struck me is that all levels are catered for and the emphasis is to just cover the distance, and kids can run it continuously or a combination of running and walking which is nice as it takes away the competitiveness that can deter kids form taking up a sport.

Of course, not all schools have facilities or big green spaces to simply just run, but I was delighted when I visited East Lucan Educated together school that they simply used what they had. A route around the school was used and it worked to great effect, and it was a joy to see the teachers make it happen, it’s too easy to just say we can’t do it or we don’t have the facilities. Personally, that’s the great thing about running, you can do it anywhere, just go!

The feedback from the teachers has been great, and I understand that the curriculum is packed and at times exercise can be over looked, but I think what is working is that everything is planned and it is just a case of running the programme. Teachers have so much to prepare everyday so by providing a planned out programme that not only gets kids activity but also educates on the healthy benefits of exercise, nutrition and the role sport can play in bettering one’s self, is a really easy way to incorporate exercise into the curriculum.

Finally, for me it’s the engagement with the kids, I always remember the Sam Maguire coming to my primary school back in 1995, it inspired me along with meeting the players and asking questions. For me, answering all the various questions from the kids this week was a pleasure and I hope I have inspired a few to go for their dreams.

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