Lockdown marathon help

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VLUK students at our Oxford based education partner, Velocity Football, took on the challenge of completing a marathon each in order to raise invaluable funds to support local families in lockdown.

Thirteen students along with their coaches and the general manager, took on the challenge by running 26.2 miles remotely using Strava. All of the team had completed their marathons by 5pm on Wednesday 10th February 2021.

The challenge was organised to raise funds for support packages that are being produced and distributed by Ignite Sport UK, Oxford City Football Club, FitFest Oxford and The Oxford Food Company.

The initial hopes were to be able to provide support packages over six-weeks and aiming to raise £3,000, however, the total has now grown to £3,700 which means that two-weeks more packages can be distributed. The packages include food, toiletries and sports equipment.

Justin Merritt, Director of Velocity Football and Ignite Sport UK, said he was proud of students’ efforts and their proactive approach to learning and training while they are restricted to learning from home. He added "Our students and their families should be extremely proud of the efforts they have gone to throughout lockdown to help support those in need during the pandemic. For everyone to complete a marathon in a day – coaches included – is an extraordinary effort and testament to the strong learning relationships our classes have established this year despite the challenges of COVID-19. Thanks to the girls’ efforts, we have not only been able to extend our distribution period, but we have also purchased more sports equipment to encourage families in need to get outdoors and active during half-term week. A massive well done to everyone involved.”

Lauren Haynes, VLUK head coach of Velocity Football’s female programme, said: “We are so lucky to have such a fantastic group of community-minded students this year. Initially, we thought the idea of each running a marathon was perhaps on the ambitious side. But everyone dug in to complete 26.2 miles and throughout the day we supported each other with catch ups via Zoom to see how everyone was getting on. I’m delighted the girls’ efforts have ensured food and essential item packages can continue to help families in need across Oxford during lockdown and want to congratulate the girls for their outstanding efforts.”

Velocity Football’s BTEC, Higher National Certificate (HNC), and Higher National Diploma (HND) courses provide 16- to 23-year-olds with the education, experience and opportunities to follow a career in sport and are delivered via Virtual Learning UK.

On Thursday, March 4, Justin Merritt and Lauren Haynes will co-host a virtual open event via Zoom for prospective students and their parents or carers to learn more about the revamped full-time educational academy that is based at Oxford City FC.

For further information about Velocity Football and to sign up to the next virtual open event, visit: www.velocityfootball.co.uk

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