Cycling to get fit

Get fit and fundraise


'We arranged a sponsored triathlon event in collaboration with Smarden Primary School. There was cycling, swimming and a walk, which took place over three weekends. The schools worked together to plan appropriate routes through the local countryside, finding suitable alternatives for younger participants. The triathlon was very much a family event, and it was good to have parents and older siblings come along to show support for pupils. Many of the children achieved personal bests in terms of the distance they cycled, swam and walked - this sense of achievement really boosted their confidence. There was no charge for entry, and we raised £600 in sponsorship, which makes a big difference for a small village school. There is so much you can do to vary the event, by offering different sports, or perhaps combining it with a picnic or by turning it into a nature walk. It is something I would definitely recommend to other PTAs.'
Kelly-Ann Kaur, PTA member, Pluckley CofE Primary School, Kent (120 pupils)

Sponsored gallop

'Cheltenham is world famous for The Festival, a four-day horse jump-racing festival, which inspired us to create our 'sponsored gallop' seven years ago. This annual event coincides with the festival and consists of an obstacle course on our school field. It is simple and cheap to set up, promotes exercise, and is huge fun for the children.

Preparations start one month before the event: we order stickers, buy refreshments, organise helpers, check equipment and get staff to complete a running order. Our only costs are £40 for squash, biscuits and stickers, as all the equipment belongs to the PE department.

To sponsor a child, supporters can complete a sponsorship form and post it in the PTA postbox with a cheque or cash, or they can donate online. We encourage people to add Gift Aid when they can.

The event is held on two separate mornings: one for infants and one for juniors. The obstacle course is made using hurdles, rope ladders and hula-hoops, plus a water jump (being splashed with water!). Each jump has been given a name inspired by the teachers, including Harford Hurdle, Price's Peak and Hobbs' Hedge.

Children come to school in their PE kit, and each year group has a half-hour slot, which includes a five-minute musical warm-up led by a PTA volunteer and a simple explanation of what to do. They then complete the gallop. Infants run five laps and juniors run as many laps as they can in 15 minutes. Afterwards, there is a ten-minute refreshment break and pupils are awarded a sticker and thanked for taking part. There are no winners - the emphasis is on enjoyment and taking part. 

The event requires around eight to ten volunteers. As the event is held during the school day, the only way to see your child take part is to volunteer to help, so this really encourages uptake. In 2019 we made a staggering £1,725.94!'

Nathalie Dawson, PTA secretary, St James' CofE School, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (420 pupils)

Three Peaks Challenge

'Last year, a team of 27 walkers, including the Head and Deputy Head, set about completing the Three Peaks Challenge - to climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. Our target was to raise £30,000 to refurbish and equip the school's new ICT suite. This event brought together our whole community. The children ran their own fundraising activities, including a T-shirt design competition, where the winning logo was printed by a local business. Each walker had a Just Giving page or cash donations could be sent to the school. The PTA is a registered charity, so Gift Aid could be recovered, and some of our donors sought match funding through their companies, which was a huge bonus. During the weekend of the walk, email bulletins gave updates of the team's progress which made everyone feel included. Many thought our target was over ambitious, but in the end we raised just over £38,000 - for a little school with 240 pupils this was a stunning achievement!'
Jane Broadis, PR officer, Christ Church CofE School, Chorleywood (240 pupils)

Bourn To Run

'For the past four years we have organised 'Bourn To Run' - a 3km and 10km race around the village. Runners of the 10km have to be over 16, but adults can choose to run either race. We start organising the run eight to nine months in advance, which gives enough time to get permission for road closures; market the races and secure sponsorship. The set up costs are around £3,000, so we need to ensure sponsorship covers our costs! This year we had 600 competitors in the 10km race, several of them in their 70s, and over 300 competitors took part in the 3km race with the majority being children and their parents. We asked the children to raise money for the 3km race, promising them prizes depending on how much they raised, with the class who raised the most winning an additional head teacher's prize of books for the classroom. The children raised over £1,000 in total! This is very much a community event, with people from the village being marshals and baking cakes to sell, and the local sports club run the BBQ for us. We even have people coming out of their houses to cheer the runners on! The teachers give out medals, which the children cherish. This is a great family event that encourages children to be active, and our last event raised £7,800 for the school!'
Joy Naylor, Vice Chair, Bourn CofE Primary Academy, Cambridgeshire (199 pupils)

Fancy dress fun run

'We hold an annual fancy dress fun run at the local cricket club. The organisation is simple - we send out a sponsor form to parents and put copies in reception, giving details of the date and time. The whole school took part, from the youngest, Jonny Bailey, four, in his hand-knitted chain mail costume, to Sebastian Selby, 11, dressed as his favourite Spanish footballer. The run doesn't have a formal length - the children run laps of the cricket pitch - some ran seven, whilst some ran 19; teachers, TAs and PTA members have clipboards to record the laps. We split the children into eight groups of ten, with kids from each year in each group - this encourages everyone to help each other along, which is excellent for team building. It wasn't just any old ordinary race - some children ran backwards, some crawled or even danced Gangnam Style! All helped each other, so a great time was had by all, and everyone slept well that night! We usually raise around £500, which isn't bad for a school of 85 pupils! We gave a certificate to each child saying how many laps they had completed.'
Kathy Carter, PTA Treasurer, Easton Primary School, Woodbridge (85 pupils)

Sponsored circuits

'We organised a sponsored walk and cycle around Thruxton race circuit. We had a huge turnout of parents and adults - the sun was shining and everyone had an absolutely fantastic day. Over 70 children from Years 1-7 participated on either bikes or scooters. The 30 Reception children walked around a makeshift circuit, and the remaining children walked around the circuit with LSAs and teachers. A total of 160 children and adults took part. The circuit is 2.3 miles long and one child went around four times! The pupils loved receiving their certificates for completing the course - walking or otherwise. The outlay was only about £10 for refreshments and we made £1,153 profit.'
Emma Pashley, PTA Treasurer, Kimpton, Thruxton and Fyfield CofE Primary School, Andover (190 pupils)

Boost profits by claiming Gift Aid - read our guide 

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