World Athletics Member Federations, athletics clubs and people across the globe have kicked off celebrations for Kids’ Athletics Day on Tuesday (7 May) with the World Mile Challenge.

Kids’ Athletics Day is the cornerstone of World Athletics’ Kids’ Athletics programme – a free and exciting programme that uses the power of athletics to inspire children and young people, wherever they are, to be more active, develop their skills and confidence, and to connect with sport. We believe that every child is born to move, play and explore no matter where they are in the world or their individual circumstance.

An exciting twist has been added to the 2024 Kids’ Athletics Day theme – the World Mile Challenge. In honour of the 70th anniversary of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile on 6 May 1954, this year’s focus is on running, jogging, or walking a mile. World Athletics and its Member Federations aim to engage 500,000 kids globally to ‘Run the World’ one mile at a time.

To encourage participants to ‘go the extra mile’, there will be a global ‘total miles run’ calculator clocking the miles registered in real time between 1 and 19 May so that all participants can track their collective progress.

Already there is a tight race between Germany and Bhutan on the leaderboard, available via the World Mile Challenge web app which acts as a central hub for the campaign across the world, allowing athletics federations, clubs, schools, and individuals to register their miles.

As part of a bigger celebration event held by Oxford University Athletics Club & The British Milers Club in Oxford, England, on 6 May 2024, a one-mile road run was held for the general public to celebrate Bannister’s achievement. The event featured specific Kids’ Athletics Day waves, where entries were given to local children in support and celebration of Kids’ Athletics Day 2024.

Primary schools in the Oxford area were also given the Kids’ Athletics Day/World Mile Challenge toolkit so that they can activate their own version of the World Mile Challenge and celebrate in their own school communities.Kids’ Athletics Day and the start of China Kids’ Athletics Month is scheduled to take place on 11-12 May at the Kids’ Athletics Event Centre in Daxing District, Beijing.

Their World Mile Challenge activation is anticipated to be a highlight of the event, which will have participation from more than 600 children from some 50 schools.“This will be a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to showcase their skills and for all participants to enjoy an environment of friendly competition and cultural exchange,” said the Chinese Athletics Association.

A total of 11 Kids’ Athletics events will be held over Kids’ Athletics Month in addition to the Beijing event and will reach an estimated 10,000 children. Furthermore, the Chinese Athletics Association is coordinating with stars from the Chinese national athletics team to be there to inspire and encourage the children, providing them with a unique chance to meet and learn from top athletes.

Legacy project

In addition to the World Mile Challenge, many Member Federations are getting involved with Kids’ Athletics Day via their own initiatives. The Bahamas hosted the World Athletics Relays at the weekend (4-5 May) and launched a Legacy Development Project during the competition. More than 200 children and young people took part in relay activities during the event’s pre-show.

Carl Lewis, World Athletics ambassador for the event, put the kids through their paces in warm up and gave them words of encouragement.This Kids’ Athletics activity signifies the start of the legacy project funded through Olympic Solidarity and supported by BAAA (Bahamas Association of Athletics Federations), Bahamas National Olympic Committee and World Athletics.

The initiative aims to leave a legacy by leveraging the excitement generated through the hosting of a global athletics event, with a focus on captivating the younger generation’s interest in athletics. Using the established network within The Bahamas, incorporating schools and clubs, the objective is to increase participation opportunities across The Bahamas, including in the sister islands, creating greater engagement with athletics.

This collaboration between the World Athletics Kids’ Athletics programme and the BAAA’s grassroots athletics programme is designed to provide positive and quality experiences for children throughout the country. Teacher and coach training will be rolled out in the coming months to increase knowledge, understanding and capability to deliver quality experience in athletics to children across The Bahamas.In India, where athletics is on a rapid rise, the Indian Athletics Federation launched an Instagram campaign counting down one month to go to 7 May that showcased various kids’ athletics activities every day.

They are hosting events across all five regions of India and it is anticipated that between 10,000 and 15,000 young people will participate in Kids’ Athletics Day and World Mile Challenge activities. Kids’ Athletics Day marks a commitment by the Indian Athletics Federation to increase participation in athletics for those under 14.In Africa, Kenya was the first country to kick start Kids’ Athletics Day celebrations, with the launch of the Kids’ Athletics Refugee Project.A Kids’ Athletics workshop was held last week at the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya.

This is part of a larger athletics and education programme implemented by AHEEN (African Higher Education in Emergencies Network), with the aim of keeping young people in refugee communities in school and education.

As part of the workshop, the teachers delivered a Kids’ Athletics Day event to 125 young people from five schools. This was held at the Kalobeyei Sport Complex within the refugee settlement.On social media, World Athletics will be sharing photos of people, events and organisations across the world who have joined us to celebrate Kids’ Athletics Day.

We invite everyone taking part in the day’s events, whether through a club or organisation, at school, or at home, to share images from their own celebrations using the hashtag #KidsAthleticsDay #WorldMileChallengeOur goal is to provide children and young people with positive experiences in athletics and to give them the confidence to be active for life.

We want to reach as many children as we can across the globe to encourage them to move and play in athletics. The World Mile Challenge is open from 1-19 May. There’s still time to get involved. How many miles can we collectively run together? 


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