The force certainly was with Kids Run Free (KRF) athlete Henry Cleary as the Star Wars superfan completed his Coronamarathon challenge in just four hours and 39 minutes, raising over £8,000 for homelessness charity Crisis.
And now the seven-year-old wants to inspire the nation to get active with ‘Henry’s Half Term Challenge’ over the next nine days, as home-schooling takes a back seat.
Parents and children are encouraged to try to complete their own marathon during the half-term break, and share images along the way with ‘Henry’s Half Term Challenge’ and #jedihenry – a nod to Henry’s love for the iconic Star Wars movies.
Henry was inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s incredible fundraising efforts, and initially set himself a challenge of completing a marathon distance of 26.2 miles over 10 days. However, such was his dedication to the cause, the Stoke Poges schoolboy crossed the finish line on day nine, and even appeared on Sky News and BBC Radio 1 to share his story.
Henry said: “I knew it would be tough and one day when it was really hot I thought I couldn’t keep going but people cheered me from their windows and doorsteps and it gave me a boost. I never thought I could run two or three miles every day but I just thought of Luke Skywalker running down the Death Star Trench and that I was helping homeless people and it kept me going. It really made me feel happy and proud and I really hope that other children can feel happy too when they are running even if coronavirus is still going on.”
‘To complete the challenge in just nine days is an incredible achievement for someone so young, and everyone at Kids Run Free is extremely proud of Henry,’ said Martine Verweij, Founder and CEO of KRF.
Alongside Dad Jamie, Henry completed his own marathon challenge with a sprint finish, and was greeted by little sister Beatrice and Mum Emily, as the village roared him home. Emily said: “We are all so proud of Henry and what he has achieved. He’s really got the running bug – something I have never had so it has exhausted me! However we are determined to keep it up so will be starting our own Kids Run Free running club in our local park once lockdown is lifted. All the children in the village came out to cheer Henry on and now they want to get into running too. There haven’t been many positives from this whole situation, but Henry’s challenge has certainly brought a much-needed smile to so many people’s faces. We’ve very proud.”
INFORMATION: For more details on Kids Run Free, please contact [email protected]