Innovative project at Russet House Special School

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March 21, 2017, 2:53 p.m.

Russet House is a special school in Enfield for primary aged children with Autism.

One of the teachers , Ruth Archer, has run a number of marathons in recent years and has raised money for the school by doing so. Last year she trained and coached 12 of the staff (most of whom had barely run before) to complete a half Marathon in the spring of last year (a team known as the Russet Runners).

She has then gone on to train another group of staff through the 'Couch to 5k' programme. These two groups continue to run and regularly meet after school to do so.

The Russet Runners have now extended to include the pupils with 5 classes regularly going for a run around the perimeter of the school grounds and are subsequently building up accumulative distances. Some of the pupils have been awarded medals for completing the Marathon distance (26.2 miles), and others have achieved 5k, 10k and half marathons!!!

The children have found this to be highly motivational and very rewarding, and come back from their run invigorated, refreshed and focussed. The classroom staff also participate and are already feeling the health benefits.

Ruth has worked exceptionally hard to get this initiative off the ground with the support of other staff. She believes passionately that this is very beneficial for the health and well-being of children, and all the results so far have been extremely positive.

Russet House are very proud that so many of the pupils have engaged with this programme and become more active, as many of the pupils would find it challenging to access such activities outside of the school environment.

Ruth is running several Marathons this year to raise funds to provide an all-weather running surface which means she can extend the programme to more classes and also continue through the winter months. If you would like to contribute, please visit

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