Eilidh Doyle, Kayleigh Haggo and Asha Philip join youngsters at St Conval’s Primary in Glasgow to help launch new Daily Mile partnership (photo by Alistair Devine)
The Daily Mile programme has joined forces with UK Athletics and other Home Country Federations – after a partnership with scotttishathletics led the way.
We first lent our backing to The Daily Mile late in 2020 and then a combined campaign earlier this year led to a significant rise in the number of Scottish primary schools involved in the programme which demonstrates how physical activity helps youngsters both physically and mentally.
Now a UK-wide approach is being adopted with governing bodies like ourselves keen to promote activity and commit to helping the athletes of tomorrow take their first steps.
A launch in Glasgow on Thursday saw Eilidh Doyle, Kayleigh Haggo and Asha Philip attend St Conval’s Primary School to promote the campaign – and take part in running activities with the pupils.
Representatives of UK Athletics and Athletics Northern Ireland were in attendance with England Athletics and Welsh Athletics also now involved in the programme with the clear target being to raise the number of schools taking part right across Britain.
Olympic sprint relay medallist Asha Philip at St Conval’s in Glasgow (photo by Alistair Devine)
Stirling school-teacher, Elaine Wyllie MBE, founded the concept in 2012 and the retired head-teacher is thrilled with the partnership between The Daily Mile and UK Athletics and other bodies.
‘I could never have imagined this all those years ago when I started it with one class of 10-year-olds,’ said Elaine.
‘I’m delighted that we will be working together with UK Athletics and the Home Nation federations. I think it just takes us into new areas and gives us a joined up approach with sport.
‘Working with leading governing bodies to promote the physical and mental health benefits fits exactly with the goals of The Daily Mile.
‘I am particularly excited about a focus on inclusion and ensuring children with a disability are provided with the opportunity to participate.’
The Daily Mile is a transformative initiative where children run, jog, wheel or walk for 15 minutes every day.
The initiative has enjoyed phenomenal success and now covers three million children at 13,000 schools in 85 countries.
Colin Hutchison, scottishathletics chief executive, said: ‘Supporting this project and working in partnership with The Daily Mile is important to us.
‘The original vision was to increase The Daily Mile opportunities and to grow athletics and running in Scotland.
‘I would love to see the partnership developing into links between The Daily Mile organisations and our local clubs and running groups.
‘We also have a growing number of clubs who are integrating opportunities for Para athletes into their training, so that could be another link with The Daily Mile, which is very much open to everyone.’
Eilidh Doyle is Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete and a former PE teacher.
Eilidh is now an Ambassador for The Daily Mile and said: ‘I fully support the Daily Mile programme as I think it is a really positive initiative to get young people more active. I’ve loved running since I was very young and the first steps in the sport come via school and then via athletics clubs.’
‘It is great fun when you exercise regularly and even better when you are doing that with your friends – it’s so good for your physical and mental wellbeing.
‘I’m excited to be endorsing this programme because I feel passionately that youngsters should be given the opportunity to be active and that hopefully starts out at primary school.’
Inclusivity and accessibility has always been at the heart of The Daily Mile – getting young people involved regardless of ability.
The Daily Mile, scottishathletics and Scottish Disability Sport are committed to supporting schools and teachers in providing opportunities for children with a disability to participate, so ensure they’re able to enjoy all of the benefits of physical activity.
The focus is always on the child’s ability, and appropriate adjustments or modifications can be made to ensure a positive experience.
Eilidh Doyle, Kayleigh Haggo and Asha Philip at the launch event in Glasgow (photo by Alistair Devine)
Support comes from Maree Todd, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing.
‘The impact of Covid-19 has been felt by everyone in Scotland across all walks of life, and put huge pressure on our physical and mental health.
‘Being physically active is one of the very best things we can do for our overall physical and mental wellbeing, and I believe it has a huge part to play in improving people’s lives in the weeks and months to come.
‘As Minister for Public Health, I whole heartedly believe in The Daily Mile and the data backs my consensus; the notion is simple yet so effective and one that helps us to reduce health inequalities and to reduce the impact on our NHS.
‘As someone who tries to do the daily mile every day myself, I can certainly vouch for its benefits.’