Why you should run the Big Half for Team Felix, according to an Olympic athlete

Callum Hawkins
Callum Hawkins of Great Britain competes in the Men's Marathon during day three of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017: Getty

The Big Half is an exciting addition to Britain's racing calendar and I’m really looking forward to competing in London.

The crowds are amazing and after I finished fourth in the marathon at the 2017 London World Championships, I’m confident I can enjoy more success in March.

Running is probably the most accessible sport in the world and The Big Half is a fantastic way of encouraging more people from different backgrounds to give it a go.

A half-marathon is a good distance, too. 13.1 miles is a challenge, but less intimidating than a full marathon.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness - and funds - for good causes, and they don't come better than The Felix Project.

Team Felix is fantastic idea, and I'll be rooting for them all the way.

At this time of year, many of us are looking down and thinking it might be time to jog off some of the festive excess, but for too many young people a lack of exercise and a poor diet could be holding them back from achieving their full potential.

I was shocked to read in The Independent that one in 10 families rely on food banks to help feed their children, but it is also alarming how many children do not get regular exercise.

I started running when I was about nine years old and I can’t imagine doing that while hungry. Running even a short distance every day helps children concentrate better in class, as well as keeping them fit and healthy, and has been linked with improved grades.

I urge all Londoners to join in with the Big Half. Sign up for one of the exclusive Team Felix places, go down to cheer on the runners on the day.

Most importantly, give generously, and ensure that this great day out has a lasting, positive impact on some of London's most vulnerable children.