Video: Pupils give Leeds Olympic hero inside track for Rio
YOUNGSTERS at a Leeds school got a run for their money when they were visited by a homegrown Olympic hero.
Triathlon star Jonny Brownlee dropped into Thorner Primary School to officially open their new running track.
The 25-year-old – who won bronze at London 2012 – took a break from training for this summer’s Games in Brazil to cut the ribbon.
The track, made possible by the Thorner Community Fund, will help keep the pupils active – and might even inspire some champions of tomorrow.
Jonny, from Bramhope, revealed he regularly cycles past the school during his epic training sessions and watched it take shape.
He said: “I got a lot of enjoyment from sport when I was growing up.
“If we can encourage today’s kids to do the same then I’m right behind that.
“It’s about getting kids involved in sport and making them realise it can be a lot of fun. Watching them here today it’s clear they’re loving it.”
Pupils from Thorner were among the 1,200 from schools across Leeds who took part in last October’s mini triathlon organised by the Brownlee Foundation, set up by Jonny and his brother Alistair, who won gold at London 2012.
The new track will build on the school’s work to encourage youngsters to be more active after it signed up to the Daily Mile Initiative.
The idea is for every child to walk or run a mile each day.
Headteacher Ian Holmes said: “We want to make the school an inspirational place not just for learning but for play as well.
“Giving the children this active lifestyle feeds back into their school work. As well as the fitness benefits it also improves their behaviour and concentration in lessons.”
Pupils, parents and staff members christened the track yesterday by running around it in a three-hour relay carrying school mascot Ollie the Owl as part of nationwide charity event Sport Relief.