Gemili revealed as special guest for World Marathon Challenge event

It’s a marathon, not a sprint, as Adam Gemili shows support for the Save the Children World Marathon Challenge

Adam Gemili (Mark Shearman)

It may be a marathon, not a sprint, but that’s not to say the times aren’t going to be rapid when Adam Gemili goes along as special guest to a Save the Children World Marathon Challenge event in London on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old might be better known for his speed over short distances, but with this event seeing the marathon divided up into 210 laps of 200m, who better to have on hand than only the second ever Briton of all time to have run that distance in less than 20 seconds?

The brainchild of Sportshall founder George Bunner, this relay event - delivered in partnership with Eveque and supported by the Amateur Athletic Association and England Athletics – sees teams of youngsters from different towns and cities competing in a virtual race that has grown into a mammoth global event in its short history.

Gemili will be joining school-age children at the London flagship World Marathon Challenge event on the final day of the competition as teams of up to 36 children aim to complete the marathon distance in the quickest time possible, targeting the current world records of 2:03:23 and 2:15:25 held by Wilson Kipsang and Paula Radcliffe respectively. Helsby High School currently tops the 2013 leaderboard, with the school’s team having completed the distance in 1:55:43.

The London event is one of over 250 events to take place across the UK this month, as young people, together with some adults, run alongside their peers in over 50 countries across the world in the unique virtual format.

Other athletes have also been keen to support the event, with Laura Muir, 800m World Championships semi-finalist, having gone along to relays at Scotstoun, while world and European 800m medallist Jenny Meadows showed her support at Sportcity in Manchester.

Last year’s event saw 20,000 children from 45 countries simultaneously tackling the marathon distance, with 15 teams breaking the then world record mark of 2:03:38 held by Patrick Makau.

“I’m thrilled to lend my support to the Save the Children World Marathon Challenge,” commented Gemili, who has enjoyed huge success in his short career as a sprinter, coming close to making the Olympic final and winning the world junior 100m title in what was his first full season of training in 2012.

This year has seen him go from winning 100m gold and claiming fourth place in the 200m at the European Under-23 Championships in July to a month later being the fastest European of the year at any age with a fifth in the World Championship 200m final and a sensational 19.98 semi-final clocking that only John Regis has bettered among Brits.

Commenting on the global fundraising movement and the impact it can have, Gemili added: “This event is a great way to build team spirit, and give kids an understanding of the issues facing children far less fortunate than themselves – many who face a struggle even to survive.

“I hope that the challenge inspires many of them to take up athletics and join a club.

“I can’t wait to start the relay, and get the schools off to a record-breaking race for such a great cause.”

» For further information on the Save the Children World Marathon Challenge visit savethechildren.org.uk/wmc

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