Portsmouth schoolchildren get in running spirit thanks to Olympic star Richard Kilty

YOUNGSTERS received a special surprise at a fun run, when they were greeted by an Olympic superstar.

Saturday, 22nd October 2016, 6:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:33 pm
Youngsters at the Run for Fun event at the Mountbatten Centre Picture: Malcolm Wells (161020-1648)

More than 400 children from primary schools across the area were joined by 4x100m relay runner Richard Kilty, who represented Team GB in the Rio Games.

The event took place at the Mountbatten Centre and Alexandra Park, as children from years three to six ran 2km for the INEOS GO Run For Fun.

The initiative aims to get as many children as possible to swap school shoes for trainers, keeping them active while they progress through school.

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Olympic athlete Richard Kilty signs the T-shirts of children from Purbrook Junior School Picture: Malcolm Wells (161020-1629)

After warming-up, the children were given some running advice from Richard Kilty.

He said: ‘Don’t dash off and end up tripping each other up – it’s better to save your energy.’

William Schmit, assistant headteacher of Mayville Junior School, said: ‘The event has been a great opportunity for us as a school to challenge our very talented individual runners whilst also encouraging all pupils to take part in an activity that is both fun and active.’

One of the girls from Portsmouth High, Freya Hampshire, won the Year 6 race.

Olympic athlete Richard Kilty signs the T-shirts of children from Purbrook Junior School Picture: Malcolm Wells (161020-1629)

A teacher from the school, Graham Oliver, said: ‘We brought 19 children along today, from Years 5 and 6.

‘We try and go to events like this whenever we can, and usually do two or three a year.

‘We have a load of after-school clubs every day, and at the moment our netball team is really good, so we have a lot of pride in our sports.’

As part of her prize for winning, Freya was able to have a picture with Richard Kilty.

Mr Kilty said: ‘I started training when I was the same age as these guys, so about 10 years old. Then I started taking it a bit more seriously when I won the national championships in 2006 when I was 16; since then I’ve just been working hard on it.

‘If something goes wrong, or you have a bad race, you just use them as a lesson and keep enjoying the sport.’