Alex leading on Hertfordshire’s Daily Mile

A graduate of the University of Hertfordshire, Alex Varran, recently took up the reins as Hertfordshire’s first dedicated Daily Mile coordinator, in a post funded by Sport England.

The Daily Mile is simple and free – and gets children out of the classroom for 15 minutes every day to run or jog at their own pace with their classmates, making them fitter, healthier and more able to concentrate in the classroom.

Working closely with Public Health Hertfordshire, Alex will be responsible for encouraging as many schools as possible in Hertfordshire, to adopt The Daily Mile and supporting the implementation of local programmes.

As a keen runner herself and a passionate advocate for the parkrun movement in Hertfordshire, Alex said:

“I am delighted to be taking on this role and to be working with Hertfordshire’s schools to show the rest of the country how, in partnership, we can lead the way in growing participation in this excellent initiative.

With 1 in 4 of our schoolchildren deemed to be overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, and with growing issues around the mental wellbeing of young people, The Daily Mile can make a marked and lasting difference to the lives of our young people.

How we might link it to our junior parkrun programmes, and a host of other initiatives, is very exciting and I am delighted that we already have some fantastic Daily Mile case studies in the county. These demonstrate how schools have embraced the programme, for not only the health and wellbeing of their pupils, but as a key factor in whole school improvement.

I would urge any schools interested in knowing more about this initiative, and in learning how I can help them, to contact me at their very earliest convenience.”

Elaine Wyllie – the founder of The Daily Mile – said:

“The physical and mental health of our children continues to be of real concern. The problems have crept up on us and are now so serious that immediate action is needed.

We should make the Daily Mile part of every childhood and watch as it improves our children’s health and wellbeing now and for the rest of their lives.”

Part of Alex’s plans include a countywide celebration event for those schools participating in The Daily Mile, which will be linked to the county finals of the Hertfordshire Schools Games programme. She is also looking into a range of athlete visits to participating schools, whereby high-profile sports men and women will act as role models for school pupils – encouraging them to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their daily lives.

Alex, who is currently studying part time for a Master’s degree in Sport Business and Leadership at Loughborough University London, is available to visit schools and address leadership teams and governors on how The Daily Mile can be embedded in school life, and to provide resources to support such initiatives.

In welcoming Alex’s appointment, and the new role for the County Sports Partnership in the Hertfordshire’s Daily Mile programme, HSP Partnership Director John O’Callaghan said:

“We are delighted to have Alex as part of the team. With her knowledge, experience and detailed local insight I have every confidence that there will be significant further growth of The Daily Mile programme in Hertfordshire. Her appointment represents an excellent opportunity for our schools to benefit from on the ground support, to better enable them to embrace the Daily Mile programme. I look forward to learning about its success in the months to come.”

For further details please contact Alex Varran at a.varran2@herts.ac.uk.

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