Marathon effort puts focus on fitness

Tweed Heads South Public School students brought 2020 to a close by stepping up for an Indigenous charity.

Image: One step at a time: Students taking part in the marathon.

Year 5 and 6 students at Tweed Heads South Public School put in a marathon effort, quite literally, in bringing 2020 to a close.

Inspired by their teacher Shontelle Raymond, the students took on the challenge of completing a marathon to help raise funds for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.

Ms Raymond said after completing the 42-kilometre virtual challenge in 2019 in her spare time, she felt the event would be a "great way to encourage my students to be active and to just have fun whilst being outdoors”.

“At first they were daunted by the idea of running 42 kilometres, but when I broke it up for them they saw it was possible,” Ms Raymond said.

“I mapped a track at the school and we set a goal to walk/run two kilometres a day throughout November. Setting the smaller daily goal made the goal of reaching 42.2kms more achievable for them.

“We had more than 50 students from Stage 3 involved and they were really enthusiastic.”

Image: Marathon marvels: Tweed Heads South Public students with their medals after completing the event.

Ms Raymond said while the fitness levels of the students all improved, there were other benefits from the challenge.

"I noticed the students energy levels were better and their focus in class was much better,” she said.

The school supported the event by collecting bottles for recycling to raise the funds to enter the marathon and raised over $900.

Ms Raymond, an Aboriginal teacher, said supporting the Indigenous charity was also important as the school had a strong and proud Indigenous community with more than one-third of students identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The virtual marathon is an initiative of the health promotion charity Indigenous Marathon Foundation, established in 2009 by former world marathon champion Robert de Castella.

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