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OLYMPIC TRACK and field stars of the past and, potentially, the future led sessions for excited school pupils at the first-ever Athletics for All event organised by the Lloyd Cowan Bursary in conjunction with London Marathon Events.

On a balmy afternoon in July, at the London Marathon Community Track in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, stars like Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 Olympic 400m champion; Tony Jarrett, a multiple World Championships medallist in 110m hurdles and 4x100m relay; John Herbert, who represented Great Britain at both summer and winter Olympic Games; and Dwayne Cowan, who was coached by his dad to World and European relay success, were putting youngsters through their paces.

Children from primary schools across East London attended the inaugural Athletics for All event, which was created to inspire activity among under-represented young people and to increase awareness of the Lloyd Cowan Bursary.

Lloyd Cowan was an international hurdler and world-leading coach who helped Ohuruogu, among others, to achieve success on the global stage. He died in January 2021, and the bursary in his name was set up later that year to support the next generation of UK athletes and coaches, especially those for whom cost is a barrier to achieving their potential in the sport.

A founding trustee of the Lloyd Cowan Bursary Ohuruogu said: “This was one of our first events, and it was a great day. Lloyd loved sport, and he loved helping a great range of people, whether they were youngsters or elite headaches like me! It’s a nice celebration of what Lloyd did for the sport and hopefully a great introduction for these youngsters to what we love so that they can get involved.”

The sessions, which started with a warm-up by Ohuruogu, included running, jumping and throwing, all led by expert coaches. London Marathon Events helped the Lloyd Cowan Bursary deliver the event as part of its commitment to providing opportunities for children and young people to be physically active.

“London Marathon Events (LME) have been involved in this event from the get-go and have been unwavering in their support.” Ohuruogy said. “The London Marathon is a global institution, so it’s really nice that LME believes in something we also believe very strongly in.”

Layla Hall, LME Schools Engagement Manager, added: “We are delighted to help the Lloyd Cowan Bursary put on the first-ever Athletics for All event. We want all children and young people to have opportunities to enjoy physical activity and to be inspired to continue enjoying sport and being active as they grow up.  

“Athletics for All was both fun and inspirational thanks to the incredible team of coaches from the Lloyd Cowan Bursary. We hope the pupils who took part now start on a journey of activity, whether that is just enjoying sport in school or striving to be the next Christine Ohuruogu.”

One beneficiary of a Lloyd Cowan Bursary is Noah Hanson, the 2023 English Schools 110m hurdles champion who represented England at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August, achieving a silver medal. Hanson attended the Bobby Moore Academy, which neighbours the London Marathon Community, and whose Year 7 pupils were among those enjoying the Athletics for All sessions. 

“Events like Athletics for All are so important; I really enjoyed myself. It’s important to do things like this to inspire the next generation; it’s key – the next Usain Bolt could be here; you never know.”

We thank all the amazing coaches and athletes who supported the event;

Clarence Callander, Yamilé Aldama, Christine Ohuruogu, Shani Palmer, Eden Francis, Glenys Morton, Michael Afilaka, Christine Harrison-Bloomfield, John Herbert, Tony Jarrett, Jimmy Thoronka, Tania-Cyrena Cyrus, Pat Apantaku, Tim Mundle, Dwayne Cowan, Victoria Ohuruogu, Amber Anning, Diani Walker, Lisa Miller, Noah Hanson, Amber Purcell, Ruben Hedman, Reece Earle, Ruby Anning and all the Year 10 Sports Leaders from the Bobby Moore Academy.

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