A TRIO of leading athletes has inspired Worcester children to lace up their running shoes with a visit to a school in the city.
Track and field stars Hannah England, Issy Boffey and Abbie Ives popped in to St Barnabas School just before the summer holidays to meet pupils and chat about running.
The visit was arranged by the organisers of the Worcester City Runs, which will take place September 16 and 17.
Hannah England was one of Team GB’s most successful middle distance athletes for over a decade.
During her career, she won a World Championships silver medal in the 1500m in 2011 and competed at the London Olympic Games in 2012. Hannah retired in 2020, but continues to work in the sport.
Issy Boffey, 23, is an up and coming star who claimed the 800m title at the British Indoor Championships earlier this year, and has just been selected to represent Team GB at the World Athletics Championships which will be held in Budapest later this month.
Abbie Ives is just 19, but in May broke the two minute barrier in the 800m, joining an exclusive list of elite women and confirming her status as an athlete to watch.
St Barnabas CE Primary School has a very proactive approach to sport and physical activity. Pupils take part in the Daily Mile and other running events and initiatives.
The school has subsidised entries into this year’s Young Athletes Run at the Worcester City Runs and 62 children have signed up, while some of the staff will also line up in the Worcester City 10k on the same day.
Impressed by the school’s commitment to encouraging young people to get active, event founder Steve Cram arranged for Hannah, Issy and Abbie to visit and give the youngsters some tips on how to prepare for their race next month.
The Worcester City Runs are being organised by Events of the North, in partnership with Worcester City Council and official charity partner, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Charity.
Founded in 2014, the event attracts thousands of runners and spectators to the city every September.
As well as leading club runners, many of the participants run to raise money for good causes.
The weekend of events will begin with Paula Radcliffe’s Families on Track on the morning of September 16, which will see family groups working together to complete 10k in a relay format, and all at a safe, secure venue at Worcester Racecourse. The Worcester City Half Marathon, 10k and Young Athletes Run will all be held on Sunday 17 September, starting and finishing in the city centre.
Sarah Hanson, headteacher of St Barnabas CE Primary School said: “What an incredible inspiration for our children to have a day with world class athletes Hannah, Issy and Abbie.
“We are doing all we can to make sure our children stay active and aspire to achieve great things. Our school community is excited to be the first school to enter our children as a group to the Worcester City Run and we have no doubt they will be the first on the start line with big smiles on their faces.
“The legacy of events like this ripple through the school for years and we are over the moon that we can give the children this superb opportunity.
“Ahead of that, we’ll all be cheering on Issy at the World Athletics Championships from back here in Worcester!”
Hannah England adds: “What a wonderful group of children! Along with their teachers, the kids were really enthusiastic about running and asked Issy, Abbie and me some great questions. I’m sure that we met some of the stars of the future at St Barnabas.
“It’s really encouraging that the school will be so well represented at the Worcester City Runs and I hope that they’re joined by many others of all ages for the Young Athletes Run, half marathon, 10K, and of course Paula’s Families on Track, which is a brilliant concept for helping youngsters to get active together with mums, dads and grandparents.”