Mini Plant Drives Schools’ Running Challenge
Eight schools in and around Oxford have signed up to take part in the first ever Schools’ Challenge driven by MINI Plant Oxford. The Challenge will take place on Sunday 12th October as part of the sell-out Vitality Oxford Half Marathon.
Four to 11 year olds of all abilities have been invited to be part of the popular Vitality OXFORDHALF and complete their own half marathon (13.1 miles) during the build up to the popular running event. The challenge has seen school children from across the county completing 12 miles in the weeks leading up to the annual race on Sunday 12thOctober.
The MINI Plant Oxford Schools’ Challenge is the newest addition to the Vitality OXFORDHALF. Andrew Taylor, Race Director said: “The Schools’ Challenge driven by MINI Plant Oxford is a great addition to the Vitality OXFORDHALF, encouraging young children to complete their own half marathon distance.
“The challenge is intended to inspire the next generation to compete in sports and we want their involvement to be celebrated as a fantastic achievement. We hope that they really enjoy taking part in this unique event and we look forward to seeing them on race day.”
The finale of the challenge will take place at the Vitality OXFORDHALF next weekend where pupils and their teachers will run the final 1.1mile at the iconic Kassam Stadium just after the main race starts.
Frank Bachmann, managing director of MINI Plant Oxford, said: “We have been involved with Oxford Half Marathon since it started four years ago. We are therefore delighted to be able to get involved in supporting a new challenge for schools across Oxfordshire, which we hope will become just as popular.”
Children from Oxford’s Larkrise Primary School were the first to sign up for the brand new Schools’ Challenge.
Carina Phillips, Leader of PE curriculum at Larkrise Primary School commented: “We are participating in this event as it gives our children an opportunity to participate in competitive running.
“Larkrise has a strong athletics team and the children are enthused and motivated to take their skills further in the area of running. It will not only help to improve their health and fitness but will enable them to participate in an after school running club around our local area and through Florence Park. We want our pupils to be involved in as many sports as possible and this is providing us with the platform to offer a new sports club with a real goal to strive for.”
Children can complete their miles however they like and they are encouraged to share the unusual places that they found for their mile runs whether it be in a park, on the beach or even up a mountain.
Current Under 23 World Triathlon Champion, Sophia Saller, who lives and studies in Oxford is supporting the challenge. She added: “Since moving to Oxford to study at Oxford University, I have always been a fond follower of the half marathon and I think it’s fantastic that the Schools Challenge, driven by MINI Plant Oxford has been introduced this year. This provides an opportunity for children to experience being a part of one of Oxford’s biggest annual events, which will give them a taste for competitive sport and provide a pathway for some of them to pursue running as they make their way through school.
“For me, bringing sports and university together day by day is what keeps me sane and gives me the balance that I need to push myself further, so for these children to have the opportunity to experience this from such an early age is an opportunity which should be relished”.
The charity partner for the Schools’ Challenge is local charity, Helen & Douglas House. Children and teachers will be invited to fundraise for the charity or one of their own choice, however fundraising is completely voluntary.
The Vitality OXFORDHALF takes place on Sunday 12th October and takes runners on a tour of Oxford’s most beautiful countryside and historic landmarks including the Iffley Road track where Sir Roger Banister broke the first four minute mile and the heart of the classic MINI brand, MINI Plant Oxford.
If you would like to get involved in the MINI Plant Oxford Schools’ Challenge please visit:

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