STUDENTS and staff at Mark Hall Academy, in Harlow, are taking part in a virtual trip to Tokyo as part of a challenge during the third national lockdown. The mission was set at the start of lockdown for the school to either run, walk or cycle the 9,254 kilometres it takes to get to Tokyo, which is to host the Olympics games later this year.
Sasha Kelly, head of PE at Mark Hall Academy, said: “The pandemic has forced us into leading a more sedentary lifestyle compared to normal. As a PE department, we wanted to encourage ‘devices down, heart rates up’ and to get together as a Mark Hall team to achieve the ultimate challenge – trekking to Tokyo.
“Ultimately, this challenge targets all aspects of health – physical health in getting active, social health in that we are getting out and collectively contributing as a team and mental health in that students have the opportunity to clear their minds, which positively affects their mood and their thinking. We are supporting and helping to improve the health and wellbeing of our young people not only now, but into the future.
“It has been fantastic to see the levels of participation in this challenge. It goes to show our students realise the importance of physical activity for their health.”
The challenge has also seen an element of competition between year groups, between staff and between Year 7 and 8 and Burnt Mill Academy students, who are all keen to reach the target the quickest.
Kayleigh Peacock, Year 7 (pictured above), said: “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. I really enjoyed doing the Tokyo Challenge; it has been really good for my mental wellbeing.”
Once schools return after lockdown, the challenge will be followed-up with various Olympic activities in PE lessons.