Sunderland manager Jack Ross puts schoolchildren through their paces as part of fitness challenge
Black Cats boss Jack Ross put youngsters at a Sunderland primary school through their paces as youngsters continued their progress as part of a special fitness challenge.
The SAFC manager was joined by first team players Reece James and Glenn Loovens at St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Millfield.
The school has recently kick-started its Daily Mile scheme, which gets pupils running a mile, the equivalent of five laps of the school’s running track, on three different days each week.
Children also got the chance to quiz the Sunderland trio on their football careers during a question and answer session in the school’s hall organised by headteacher Damian Groark.
Two groups of pupils, one made up of Key Stage One children and the other from Key Stage Two, then took to the school’s playing field to carry out their Daily Mile run for the day.
The visitors from SAFC even joined in with pupils to stretch their legs.
Jack Ross said: “We’ve had some really good questions from the children and I’ve enjoyed answering them.
“I think since the new ownership has come into the club, we’ve tried to engage as much as we can with the local community through visits like this.
“To be fair to the players they do a bit more of these type of events because of the demands on my time as the manager, but they look forward to them.
“And anything we can do to help gets kids more active is something we want to be involved in.
“They seem like they’ve really enjoyed things today.”
Mr Groark said: “The Daily Mile is a national initiative which actually started in Scotland.
“It’s been very successful and we got money as part of the Sugar Tax which is helping to support health and fitness at the school.
“We’ve put the track down outside because if we want kids to run a decent distance, they need decent ground to do it on.
“Things are going really well and the children have taken to it.”
Mr Groark also paid tribute to the SAFC staff for their visit.
“Jack, Reece and Glenn have been so accessible and open with the kids,” he said.
“The club in itself has perhaps had a bit of ground to make up because of how the team has done in recent years and they’ve certainly made it up today.
“We really appreciate them giving up their time.”