Russell House challenge themselves to race to Nepal

One of the ways in which pupils and staff at Russell House have been keeping active during the coronavirus lockdown has been with a challenge to exercise their way from Otford to Nepal – all seven million metres!

Alongside their interactive online curriculum, Russell House pupils are given a weekly challenge by headmaster Mr McCarthy. The challenge for Week 2 appeared an almost impossible feat. It was a Race to Nepal and involved all pupils and staff – and parents could join in too. Nepal was chosen because Russell House has funded a new school for 200 children in Ishma, a village in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Every day, children and staff were encouraged to exercise in a way that was measurable in metres. It could be indoors or out, cycling, running, three-legged or in fancy dress. Where children did their exercise with their parents, they could include one parent’s metres too.

The whole school community embraced the challenge, exercising come rain or shine. One pupil, who had been due to compete at the British Schools National Tumbling finals at the weekend, backflipped, cartwheeled and somersaulted his way to Nepal instead!

Everyone at the school was thrilled and excited to be joined in their endeavours by former Russell House pupil and Olympic hockey gold medallist – Susannah Townsend MBE.

By the end of the seven-day effort, the school had not simply made it to Nepal, it had gone past Ishma, reached Kathmandu and ended up in Myanmar, nearly nine million metres later. What a journey!

Mr McCarthy was full of admiration for everyone’s efforts, sat=ying: ”I have been blown away and really proud of everyone in the way they tackled this challenge. It was not for charity, purely for the fun of it and to provide extra motivation for exercise. It is really important that we look after ourselves physically which helps us look after ourselves mentally. Congratulations to all!”

In his awards at the end of the challenge, Mr McCarthy paid special recognition to:
• The Power Bunnies – who contributed and recorded their metres every day of the challenge: Remy, Sophia, Jasper, Lara, Joseph, Evie, Lucas, Zachary, Clara, Bella, Kit, Jessica, Louis, Lottie, Annabel, Anya, Noah, Imogen, Arlo, Caitlin, Rory, Charlie, James, Georgiana, Sophie, Hermione, Jessica, Kamran, Clara, Oliver, Isabelle, Annabella, Austin, Isabella, Felix, Grace, Oliver, Madison, Connor, Ella, Kayla, Eva, Annabel, Alex, Henry, Harry, Oliver, Dorothy, Xavier, Varsha, Varun, Logan, Michael, Christian, Dylan, Alice, James, Ethan, Hector, Freja, Olivia, Isabella, Ava, Max, Max, Matilda, Isobel, Easher, Kiran, Samuel, Patrick, Daniel, Tommy, Alec, Lucy, Bjorn and Anna plus 15 members of staff and Susannah Townsend!

• The Top Bananas – who provided the top performance from each class: Sophia, Joseph, Evie, Jessica, Isla, Anders, Madison, Megan, James, Alex and Mrs Burness

• The Centurions – who completed 100km or more: Anders, Madison, Max M, Tommy, Alex, Lucy, Bjorn, Eddie, Susannah Townsend, Mrs Burness and Mr Skinner

• And finally, in receipt of the Headmaster’s salute for effort: EVERYONE!
With the whole school community having made it so successfully to Nepal, you can guess Mr McCarthy’s challenge two weeks later. Yes – climbing Everest! But that’s another story…