Sunderland team ready for Save the Children World Marathon Challenge

Runners from SeafRUNt Smilers running group ahead of Save the Children marathon

Runners from SeafRUNt Smilers running group ahead of Save the Children marathon

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A TEAM has its running shoes at the ready as they prepare to take part in one of the world’s largest challenges.

Save the Children World Marathon Challenge brings together squads of about 30 schoolchildren and young people racing in a relay to complete the full marathon distance.

Teams made up of under 18s from more than 50 countries across the globe will take part at the same time, each trying to outdo the other to become the world champion.

Students from Sunderland College are gearing up to race at its Washington campus on Wednesday, with the funds they raise to help children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“We’re really excited about the upcoming event,” said Laura Mitford, enrichment officer at the college. “As well as giving the young people an exciting sports event in which they can take part, it’s a great way of getting the school to work together for a common, fund-raising goal.”

A separate event will also take place at Seaburn, near the Marriott Hotel, today organised by Run England SeafRUNt Smilers running group.

Group leader David Savage, said: “As well as giving us another exciting sports event in which they can take part in, it’s a great way of getting us all to work together for a common fund-raising goal.

Both groups intend to make the most of modern technology to boost their competitive spirit via an interactive leader board, so they can compare their progress to their UK and foreign peers.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive officer at Save the Children, said: “Every year, more than seven million children in the poorest parts of the world die from easily preventable causes like diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia.

“Some children lose their lives simply because they can’t get the nutritious food that they need. By taking part in this challenge, Sunderland College students and the SeafRUNt Smilers running group are working together with other schools from across the globe to help really make a difference to stamp out preventable deaths in the under-fives.”

Last year more than 20,000 children took part from 45 countries and nations taking part this year include Nepal, Vietnam and Zambia.