Children help teacher go the extra miles to run the Big Half for charity at heart of our food poverty appeal

Sana Khan: 'I am so proud to be part of the team and the children are so excited': Alex Lentati

Children at the school at the heart of our Help A Hungry Child appeal already run a mile around the playground each day — and now they want to help their teacher train for London’s new official half-marathon.

Sana Khan, 33, who teaches at Stanhope primary school in Greenford, has joined Team Felix, a group training to run The Big Half and raise funds for food poverty charity The Felix Project.

She said: “The children have all made posters to encourage me and are asking if they can sponsor me and train me! They have asked me to do the daily mile with them so I will be taking my trainers into school with me.”

Stanhope was the first primary school to get a Felix Project food stall as a result of our appeal. Parents can collect free, healthy food at the end of the school day to take home and cook with, to ensure their children do not go to bed hungry. Every child there runs one mile a day around the playground and does five minutes of high-intensity training.

Sana Khan hopes to finish the race in less than two hours (Alex Lentati)

The 56 members of Team Felix will raise money to ensure more schools can benefit from similar stalls by running The Big Half on Sunday March 4.

Miss Khan, a year six teacher, is going on four training runs a week and has completed up to eight miles so far. She hopes to finish the race in less than two hours, adding: “I am so proud to be part of the team and the children are so excited — I hope the enthusiasm for running rubs off on them.”

She said that having the Felix Project food stall every week has changed attitudes towards hunger. “It is great that we are raising awareness about this important issue and people are comfortable going to the food stall and breaking down these barriers,” she said. “The food is fresh and healthy, and the children are all excited when the Felix van pulls into the playground to deliver the food.”

Sahreen Siddiqui, head of Stanhope, said the culture has changed since the stall arrived. At first few families wanted to talk about the problems they faced but now more are happy to speak about it. She said: “There is a feeling now that the problem of hunger is a country-wide issue. It’s not just about this school.”

The stories of pupils who struggle with hunger featured in the Standard and touched people’s hearts. Recently somebody brought three bags of shopping to the school to be passed on to families.Mrs Siddiqui said: “The campaign has been so powerful. We hope that Miss Khan taking part in the half-marathon will inspire our pupils as they run the daily mile.”

She said she also wants to take pupils on more trips and that the school would benefit from a minibus.

“Quite often if these families are struggling to find money for food, things like outings and visits are scarce for them,” she said. “As a school we are really conscious about providing opportunities for them and having a minibus would allow us to do much more. Taking public transport or hiring coaches is so expensive.”

The Big Half is the official sister race to the Virgin Money London Marathon. Sir Mo Farah will take part in a “Big Clash” with British No2 Callum Hawkins and Kenyan marathon star Daniel Wanjiru. Wanjiru, who won last year’s London Marathon, holds a half-marathon personal best of 59 minutes and 20 seconds.

Sir Mo’s is 59 minutes and 32 seconds and Hawkins’s is exactly 60 minutes. Money raised by Team Felix will go to The Felix Project, which takes food that would be wasted and distributes it to those who would otherwise go hungry. Our appeal raised more than £1 million. The money will help roll out the market stalls scheme to 120 schools across the city within two years, helping 50,000 young people and their families.

More than 15,000 runners will tackle The Big Half. The 13.1-mile race starts by the Tower of London and goes east to Canary Wharf before doubling back to Tower Bridge and following the river to finish at the Cutty Sark.

How to Support Team Felix in The Big Half:

Click -

Text – FELIX £5 TO 70700

Freephone – 08000 639281

And follow the Team on social - #TeamFelix