PUPILS at Poole High School have been competing in a virtual 'Race to Tokyo' since the start of remote learning in January.

Each year group has been challenged to collectively accumulate as many kilometres as they can during the lock down period by running, jogging or walking. The challenge is to see how far and how fast each year group can get towards Tokyo, the home of the 2021 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

PE teacher Alex James has been coordinating the challenge with each year group uploading their virtual miles via Strava, Nike Training app or similar to a classroom. There have been options available for those that don't have this or cannot/ do not want to leave the house to run or walk.

Alex said:"We have been encouraging safe running/walking within the government guidelines at the time, and again promoting alternatives they can do at home in the garden or inside as a viable option. The engagement and the team spirit built has been incredible over the past six weeks.

"It has kept students engaged in PE and also looking after their physical and mental well-being, establishing a sense of belonging with the year group and also allow them to have a bit of competitive fun in challenging times! "

The distances are collated by the PE team twice a week, and added together to show how far along the route each year group is. They 'visit' famous sporting landmarks along the way!

Head Teacher Paul Gray said: "The Road to Tokyo has been a welcome contrast to the solitary gloom of lockdown living for so many people. The non-competitive, fun-filled spirit of the event has meant that remote running – whether it be hacking up a hill in North Dorset or belting along the beach in Bournemouth, it’s actually compounded the sense of team-spirit and friendship that typifies normal Poole High life."

Nicola Wilkins, Director of Health and Fitness, said: "It has been fantastic to see so many students and staff get involved in the challenge. It has created a real sense of community spirit and helped to connect people whilst they can not physically be in school together. It has been inspiring to see so many students wanting to share their distances and activity levels with the PE team, and whilst we are enjoying seeing what people have been able to do from their homes we can not wait to welcome the students back into school and into our PE lessons.

Year 11 student, Jemma Stone said: "I had two inspirations for walking so many miles. The first was to get further than all the other year groups, and the second, I started raising money for Bone cancer research trust by walking 100 miles in February"

Zoe Steele, Year 10, said: "I have really enjoyed participating in the Tokyo challenge. It has helped motivate me to keep getting up early and keep active until I can get back in the swimming pool and has also helped keep me to stick to a routine whilst in lockdown."

Adam Bice, Year 9, said: "The reason I joined the Road to Tokyo challenge is because I thought it would help me get away from the screen, get active and get fit. I’ve been running and walking the dog to get the miles in. I’m enjoying the challenge and hope Year 9 can get to Tokyo, hopefully before anyone else in Poole High!"

Pippa Marchant, Year 8, said: "The Tokyo challenge means I get to meet up with a friend for some daily exercise whilst having a catch-up, but it also keeps my parents happy that I get off the screen for at least an hour after school most days too."

Joshua McMaster, Year 7, said: "I am glad my school has organised this challenge because it helped me to get out and about running. I managed to get P.B's in several distances. Thanks P.E. department."