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.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 4:14 pm
SAFC manager Jack Ross with players Reece James and Glenn Loovens during their visit to St Joseph's RC Primary School, Rutland Street, Sunderland, to launch the school's Daily Mile track.

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.

SAFC manager Jack Ross with players Reece James and Glenn Loovens during their visit to St Joseph's RC Primary School, Rutland Street, Sunderland, to launch the school's Daily Mile track.

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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.

Sunderland AFC defender Glenn Loovens with pupils at St Joseph's RC Primary School.

“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.”

Sunderland manager Jack Ross alongside players Reece James and Glenn Loovens at St Joseph's RC Primary School.

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.”

Jack Ross running with pupils and staff at St Joseph's RC Primary School.

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.”