Perse students keep on running during lockdown
11 Feb 2021
Students have been putting their best foot forward with a boom in running among the Perse community during the current lockdown.
While The Perse has a strong pedigree for developing runners under the guidance of cross-country coach Chris Ingram, many more pupils have been enjoying the physical challenge and emotional wellbeing benefits of hitting the pavements throughout this period.
Aiina Turchyn (Year 10) has raised £240 for Sport in Mind, a charity that aims to boost mental health through physical activity, by going for a run every day last month, covering 209km (129 miles) in total as part of the RED January challenge.
She said: “Running helped me to stay positive and motivated in the first lockdown, so I was looking for a challenge when I discovered RED January. It was quite difficult, but very good fun and I am so happy that I have inspired so many donations.”
Having been runner-up in the men’s U20 category at the Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon last year, George McLaren (Upper Sixth) is no stranger to long distances.
However, he set himself the task of running the corresponding number of kilometres to the day of the month each day during January – a challenge he completed, albeit with the aid of a bike over the final three days due to a knee injury, to cover 496km (302 miles) overall.
George said: “My running club had shut and there were no ongoing races, so I had to find a way to get some good training in. I wanted to set myself a challenge to see how far I could run, but I found it extremely difficult.
“I hadn’t run as much as i would have liked through November or December, after recording the fastest time for the Perse Stitch-Up Marathon (in aid of Christel House) last October. As a result, I found it a bit of a shock to the system to be running every day without a rest day.
“It got harder throughout, but it helped running with Ed Gaskarth (Upper Sixth) on some days to keep me company. The lack of rest days had the biggest impact. It’s a relief to be done and I’m glad I attempted it.”
Launched by Head of PSHE Susannah Covey last September, the successful Couch to 5k programme has continued online, with Year 11 pupils Anny Chen and Tengyu Zhao among the pupils involved. They have enjoyed running virtually with each other during lockdown and have found that the sense of camaraderie has helped with motivation.
Year 7 pupils George Tysome, Eva Jonas, Bibiana Krall, Alesya Turchyn and Jonathan Tan have been building their frequency and distance of runs over the past few weeks and recording some impressive 5k and 10k times.
A number of pupils missing the competitiveness of their regular team sports have turned their attention to chasing personal bests. Olly Traherne (Lower Sixth) achieved an excellent time of 1hr 26min in his first attempt at a half marathon. Holly Smith (Year 10) has also posted very impressive 10k and half marathon times for her U15 age group, while Ben Lewis (Lower Sixth) has set himself the target of running 100km every month in 2021, starting off with 107km in January.
Meanwhile, Perse team runners have been putting in the miles. Daniel Zailer-Fletcher (Year 11) has been running around 100km a week and set a half marathon personal best of 1hr 22min, while Verity Valentine (Year 8) knocked her 1,500m time under the five-minute mark, as well as improving her 5k time.
Members of staff have also been lacing up their running shoes, with a combined distance of 2,000km recorded on Strava during January. Mr Ingram, chemistry teacher Tom Fowler and Director of Sport Glenn Kirkham led the way by each running more than 300km.