Holland’s miles ahead already: “The Daily Mile” founder calls on the UK Government to help schools make running part of childhood again

  • Former Pride of Britain Teacher of the Year winner Elaine Wyllie is today celebrating the national launch of her “The Daily Mile” school running initiative across Holland, and calling on Westminster to catch up with Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands in formally committing to help English schools get their children running daily- as recommended in their own recent Childhood Obesity Strategy
  • The movement to encourage schools to take children outside to run for 15 minutes each day has been adopted there as a logical, proactive and positive approach to increasing childhood activity, and reducing childhood obesity levels.
  • The baton has been taken up by the Government-supported JOGG (translated as “Children at a Healthy Weight”) organisation to spread The Daily Mile initiative across the country, championed by Dutch speed skater and sporting legend Erben Wennemars.
  • Holland is the latest country to adopt The Daily Mile, following a commitment by the Scottish Government to roll out the scheme throughout Scotland, and a fast-growing national Daily Mile movement in Belgium supported by Olympian Tia Hellebaut. Schools around the world are now taking part, with many local and devolved Governments taking interest in the simple, profoundly effective wellbeing intervention.

Today, award winning former head teacher Elaine Wyllie, founder of The Daily Mile initiative, is celebrating the launch of her primary school running initiative across Holland.

The Dutch JOGG organisation (concerned with keeping the country’s “Children at a Healthy Weight”)- which is co-funded by the Dutch government, charities and commercial donations- has adopted The Daily Mile as a key means of helping children get outside and active every day. Today’s formal launch will raise awareness of the initiative, inviting schools across the country to join the scores of primaries already taking part.

Dutch wold champion speed skater and national legend Erben Wennemars is  spearheading the campaign, featured today on national TV as he runs with children at the De Toermalijn school in Rotterdam. He says, “The Daily Mile is a strong initiative that schools can pick up very easily- I’m very confident that a lot of schools in The Netherlands will join The Daily Mile movement. Each day provides a chance to go outside, get some fresh air and walk or run for fifteen minutes. No fuss, just go for it! I am very excited to be the Dutch ambassador for this great cause, and I cannot wait to help children get more active again.”

Elaine has fully supported the rollout, and sends her congratulations to all involved in the launch. “Today the Netherlands has taken an enormous step towards safeguarding not only the physical, but also the mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing of its children. I’m delighted to welcome the Dutch primaries into our fast-growing international community of Daily Mile schools, alongside the UK and Belgium, a feat that wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and hard-work of the JOGG team”, she says. More information on the Dutch Daily Mile can be found at www.thedailymile.co.nl.

The Daily Mile, which encourages schools to take their pupils out to run, walk or jog outside for 15 minutes each day at a time of the teacher’s choosing, has transformed the health and wellbeing of thousands of children in the UK so far, and Elaine’s The Daily Mile Foundation hopes it will continue to do so across the globe. The concept is simple, free, and fully inclusive, with the emphasis on children having fun, self-improving, and developing a positive daily activity habit early on in their lives, regardless of sporting ability or background.

Since The Daily Mile was born at her former primary school in Scotland 4 years ago, Elaine has seen the initiative progress in leaps and bounds- with governments in Scotland, Belgium and now Holland bringing their Health and Education departments together to promote and facilitate the widespread adoption of the scheme. She says, “The Daily Mile is for children everywhere and, by acting now, Holland will ensure much better future health outcomes for their citizens. I congratulate them on their swift and decisive action and hope that other nations will decide to start The Daily Mile in their schools too.”

Since The Daily Mile was formally recommended for primary schools in the UK Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy this summer, Elaine has called on the UK Government to similarly commit to helping schools across the country adopt the scheme, as a means of increasing activity levels, improving national wellbeing, and tackling our looming obesity crisis. On the ground, the initiative is winning universal favour with teachers, parents and children alike, and has been widely supported by health experts, with many counties, local governments and boroughs promoting The Daily Mile in their areas. Despite being free to implement, however, there has as yet been no national coordination- something which Elaine believes will make all the difference. “It’s fantastic that trailblazing countries like Holland are now taking up The Daily Mile baton”, says Elaine, “and I hope, for the health of our nation, that the UK will join the race to a healthier future sooner rather than later.”

The Daily Mile Foundation has a new website, www.dm.mtmhosting.co.uk, and is encouraging teachers and parents to register their interest, download helpful resources, and share their Daily Mile experiences. More information on The Daily Mile in action can also be found on The Daily Mile’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/thedailymile.uk) and Twitter (www.twitter.com_thedailymile) accounts.


Media contacts

Ursula Heath  (The Daily Mile Foundation)                                 +44 7979 507612