16 October 2012
Team GB athletics hero Christine Ohuruogu (coach: Lloyd Cowan)led from the front today as the Aviva Athletics Academy ambassador joined 200 budding 11-13 year-old athletes in the World Marathon Challenge, an event hosted by Save The Children and endorsed by UK Athletics to raise awareness of child hunger across the globe.
Already a strong advocate of the ability of athletics to change lives, Ohuruogu ran the first leg in a giant marathon-length relay in Willesden, north-west London as the World Marathon Challenge sought to raise the profile of increasing malnutrition problems facing youngsters overseas on what was also World Food Day.
Ohuruogu was joined in the relay by Emma Rigby, former Hollyoaks actress who currently stars in the drama Prisoners’ Wives. The 200 schoolkids taking part in the World Marathon Challenge in Willesden – from six local schools – were racing at the same time as 20,000 further kids overseas in 45 countries.
The Beijing 400m gold and London 400m Olympic silver medallist, who is a keen supporter of giving kids the opportunity to participate in athletics in schools through her work with the Aviva Athletics Academy, saw the dual benefits of today’s challenge.
“The World Marathon Challenge today was such a great event to be part of. Merging my work with the Aviva Athletics Academy and Save The Children’s drive to stop child hunger has meant that we’ve been able to touch so many young lives through this unique global marathon on World Food Day.
The Newham & Essex Beagle admitted that with the pressure of London 2012 behind her, she has been able to spend more time catching up on her outside interests, including promoting her book launched earlier this year – Camp Gold: Running Stars – and inspiring the next generation of young athletes in her home city.
“I’m enjoying myself at the moment and allowing myself time to give back to the community and the kids after such a busy year. I will be easing myself back into full training a bit slower than usual this winter.”
The 28-year-old has no intention of calling time on her athletics career just yet though – targeting a successful World Championships in Moscow next year, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 as well as a third Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
“I am definitely aiming for Rio at the moment. That’s my intention at this point in time. For the moment though, it’s just great to see everyone excited about athletics. Hopefully my work with the Aviva Athletics Academy and events like the World Marathon Challenge today will get even more kids hooked on the sport and living active, healthy lifestyles. That would be a great legacy to leave after London 2012.”