Haringey Community Press

Haringey Community Press

Marathon makers

Haringey’s youth get back on track at the 2021 Mini London Marathon

Hero for Marathon makers
Young mini marathon athletes
By Burk Gravis 22 November 2021

Last month, we at Haringey Sports Development were back with our youngsters competing in the largest road race for adults and youngsters in the world: The Mini London Marathon.

With only one months’ notice from the organisers, we held two cross country events for schools in Haringey, with a turnout of 600 youngsters. Our team was selected with a maximum number of 18 girls and 18 boys aged between eleven and 17 years.

The Mini London Marathon was held on Sunday, 3rd October in central London, and it was important because since its conception we have organised full teams from Haringey to compete in it. It’s an event that the youngsters love, as it leaves them and their parents with lasting memories.

(All photos courtesy of Henry Jacobs)

I established Haringey Sports Development in 1992, using an electric typewriter, and with minimal funding from the Tottenham Grammar School Foundation. We gained charitable status two years later in 1994.

Up until then, there had been a void in sports provision because Haringey Council had closed the borough’s sport development team ‘Community Action Sport’ in 1991, when it was faced with the need to make drastic budget reductions.

Today, Haringey Sports Development enjoys a high profile across the community sports sector in London and is viewed externally as a success. The charity has a strong record of focusing our work on young people, and gaining achievements in London Youth Games by using sport development as a vehicle in Haringey and neighbouring areas.

We set up clubs in the borough, increasing participation and affecting young people’s attitudes towards improved lifestyle, as well as dealing with obesity and wellbeing.

We also upskill young people toward gaining coaching qualifications in a variety of sports linked to the London Youth Games, enabling them to become ambassadors in sport and volunteering opportunities, oftentimes leading to full, and part-time employment.

Running the mini marathon this year was simply getting back to some sort of normality and, in a nutshell, it was a healthy activity that brought youngsters from schools across Haringey together to represent the borough with pride.

This year we ran under the slogan ‘Rise Up – the return’, a statement that showed we, in Haringey were rising out of the pandemic scenario. We currently place seventh in the Mini London Marathon, but we aim to achieve top five placing.

Our vision at Haringey Sport Development includes building upon the success of the previous 26 years and expanding our sports programmes for young people across the borough. We aim to establish long-term sustainability in all sports programmes that we deliver, and for sport to provide a framework for local children and young people to develop key skills that will help them with future employment.

I have a passion for sport, and a belief that all young people should have the opportunity to take part in a variety of them.

Increasing participation will ultimately lead to increased performance in Haringey, right through to international level; ensuring the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games, and further developing the belief in using sport development as a tool to encourage young people to be active and engaged.

For more information: haringeysportsdevelopment.co.uk/events/mini-londonmarathon/