Q&A with Sean Hehir former National Marathon Champion and Assistant Principal at Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál in Inchicore, Dublin

1. How long has your school been participating in The Daily Mile?

In Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál we have been participating in The Daily Mile for just over a year.

2. What are the three main benefits of The Daily Mile that you have observed?

The Daily Mile helps improve students’ fitness levels within a matter of weeks. It also benefits students’ well-being as pupils spend time exercising with their friends in a fun, non-competitive, social environment. The Daily Mile benefits academic achievement in the classroom as students return energised and more receptive to learning.

3. What kind of feedback do you get from children participating in The Daily Mile?

Students love doing The Daily Mile. Most love the opportunity of getting out in the fresh air for a run during the school day and catching up with their friends in a fun and non-competitive setting. Others like to challenge themselves and push the pace from time to time. It benefits everyone.

4. Have you had much reaction from parents?

The feedback from parents has been very positive and they have been very supportive of us incorporating The Daily Mile into our school schedule. Many parents and students are now running together at weekends as students are keen to keep up their daily running routine at home. This in particular has been an unexpected benefit of signing up to The Daily Mile in our school.

5. As a former National Marathon Champion, what are your own earliest memories of running?

I’m from Kilkishen, a small village in east Clare. My earliest running memories are of competing in The Community Games trials in our parish field.  For all of us in the village, these races were our mini-Olympics and it wasn’t until I was a little older and had joined Marian Athletic Club that I eventually made it to the county and national Community Games finals.

6. What was your experience of exercise and sport during your Primary School days?

I loved PE and took part in all sports growing up, from soccer and handball to hurling and gaelic football. Looking back I now know how lucky I was growing up in Kilkishen having all these sports to take part in and I’m thankful to the teachers, parents and coaches who gave up so much of their time for us back then. My parents were keen sportspeople and they set a very good example for us too.

7. How has your school supported The Daily Mile?

Last year we launched The Daily Mile at our September assembly to mark the beginning of The European Week of Sport. Since then things have gone from strength to strength. We have two mini-running tracks marked out on our school yard and the older students complete The Daily Mile on the parish Rosary Walkway. Many teachers join their students in completing The Daily Mile and we also have parents and teachers running clubs in our school. Several of our parents and teachers have signed up to this year’s Dublin Marathon.

8. Do you have any advice to Principals/teachers of schools thinking of signing up?

Any school, big or small, can do The Daily Mile. It is very easy to get up and running and it can be easily incorporated into the school day. The Daily Mile is teacher and school friendly and it is free to do. All the resources and information needed to get The Daily Mile up and running are on the website [www.thedailymile.ie]. I would love to see schools all over Ireland benefiting from this fantastic initiative as we have done this past year.

9. What are your three wishes for the remainder of 2019?

My wife and I are expecting our firstborn later this year. My only wish is for a healthy and happy rest of 2019 for us all.

10. Complete the sentence “I run because….”

“…it makes me happy, it keeps me healthy and I love challenging the limits of what I can do.”