London clocks UK fastest time as World Marathon Challenge goes truly global

London clocks UK fastest time as World Marathon Challenge goes truly global


Before the 2012 Save the Children World Marathon Challenge had even gotten under way across the UK’s Flagship Event, London was already making the headlines on the BBC News channel with Newham’s very own Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu showing her support for the 2012 ‘World Marathon Challenge’. She was today at the event in Willesden Sport Centre where 5 London schools set about the task of trying to clock the best time over 200m relay legs shared of a total distance of one marathon.

Graeme Allan of Sportshall athletics goes into more details on the showcase event in Willesden: “We have 5 teams here today. Team sizes of 26 and 36 athletes all do 200m splits to full distance of a marathon; all aiming to run faster than Patrick Makau world best of 2 hours and 3 minutes.”
The Development Officer - London & South East went on to say: “We have 3 local schools here taking part and with a school from Greenwich and school from Newham. Thomas Tallis who looks strong have been performing well in our Sportshall pathway. This venue is unique because every job role is managed by our young leaders, there is not one adult involved with any roles, the only venue to do so worldwide”.

The 32 young leaders from Capital City Academy based just next door to the Willesden track and Cheshunt School were taking on tasks such as; timekeeping, changeovers, managing the VIPs, and inputting results.  Potentially creating the next generation of officials.

In 2011 the event in London was held in Lee Valley Athletics centre; with 53 events held worldwide. But 2012 has seen over 600 teams taking part from 45 countries giving an insight to the growth and popularity of the event and truly going global and living up to its name.

Dr David Hemery CBE started the 2012 race; with Christine Ohuruogu running the first 200m leg to help support and get the challenge underway. Dr Hemery who now has an active role himself in London’s legacy heading the charity ‘21st Century Legacy’ where they focus on young people translating the inspiration and potential captured from the London 2012 Olympic games into action empowerment. The 1968 Olympic champion said: “I think the World Marathon Challenge is fantastic for 2 reasons; 1 it is raising awareness of good cause in Save the Children and world hunger, while linking that to a really healthy pursuit within a multi cultural event, it’s absolutely brilliant. The format works well with all the young people engaged into it ...brilliant idea!”

2013 will see London increase its participation in the event with 33 London Boroughs all taking part at the same time. Each borough will have a central venue. What is fantastic about the World Marathon Challenge is any school or community can take part using any available space or facilities. It does not have to be held on a track - Brighton are due to be holding theirs on the promenade on the seafront.

Thomas Tallis School in greater London produced the best performance of the afternoon in Willesden, in fact the best performance of the UK to rank them second in the world going into tea time.  The time of 1 hour 55 minutes and 13 seconds broke inside the 2 hour mark to overtake the previous best set in 2011.

The results from the day at Willesden are as follows:
1 - Thomas Tallis School - 01:55:13
2 - Barnhill Community High - 02:07:09
3 - Ark Academy - 02:07:20
4 - Cumberland School - 02:14:57
5 - Capital City Academy - 02:22:16

For further in depth information and analysis please visit:

If you are interested in bringing Sportshall athletics to your club or school or local community project please get in touch with Graeme Allan Development Officer - London & South East Email Graeme here

See the TV report from the day's action here 

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