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Who started The Daily Mile and how can your children get involved? Here’s everything you need to know.

Miles of smiles video

The idea for The Daily Mile started at St Ninians Primary School in Scotland in 2012. One day during a PE class, headteacher Elaine Wyllie noticed a lack of fitness among children. Elaine and her team decided to encourage children to run around the school field for 15 minutes a day for a period of four weeks. By that time they were hooked!

Today, The Daily Mile is a global sensation with 2.3 million children at more than 11,000 primary schools and nurseries in 79 countries signed up to take part.

“It’s a really exciting way to unite a school,” says The Daily Mile Foundation’s brand manager Lara Newhall, who popped into Cubitt Town Junior School in London while pupils were in action doing their Daily Mile.

You can see and hear more about how The Daily Mile can help create a happy school in our Miles of Smiles video.

How do children take part in The Daily Mile?

“Any school can decide they want to start The Daily Mile in the morning and do their first mile that day,” says Lara. “It’s completely free and there’s no extra workload for teachers.”

Children wear their regular school clothes and shoes – the class simply heads outside whenever teachers think the activity fits into their school day. Lara says: “It’s 15 minutes desk to desk – from classroom, outside, back in.”

Year 6 teacher Miriyan Sikkens finds it’s a great way to break up the afternoon: “We often use it as a transition between two lessons – it’s a fresh start.”

The Daily Mile was given its name by Elaine Wyllie MBE, founder of the initiative, as in 2012 she realised that when doing The Daily Mile for 15 minutes most of the children were averaging a mile in that time. But the focus is on 15-minutes of walking, jogging or running at their own pace. The aim is to help them enjoy getting active every day – regardless of age, ability or circumstances.

“It’s a self-paced activity,” says Lara. “Children can jog, run or walk. They can take part in wheelchairs supported by their teachers. It’s 100 per cent inclusive.”

Children don’t need a running track: “We’ve seen schools do laps around their playground or around the perimeter of their school. Some have gone to a local park. It really can be done anywhere.”

The benefits of The Daily Mile

Research studies have shown that The Daily Mile not only helps children to be more active, but it can also make them feel happier and more alert, in turn helping them to concentrate better in class.

Cubitt Town’s headteacher Robyn Bruce explains: “Children release a lot of energy when they’re out there so when they come back in, they’re ready to sit down and learn. Their concentration and focus have improved dramatically.”

PE teacher Justin Jose wants children to leave primary school with a love for moving. He sees The Daily Mile as a real avenue for introducing children to being physically active in a non-competitive way: “They’re not competing against anyone – they’re always trying for their personal best.”

He thinks the social aspect of The Daily Mile is just important as the physical: “You see the happy faces, the brilliant smiles and the little chatter they have.”

Year 3 teacher and wellbeing lead Emma Whitwam also believes The Daily Mile improves children’s emotional and mental wellbeing, helping them understand how exercise can make them feel “a bit better on the inside”.

Find out more about all the benefits The Daily Mile can bring to children’s health in our Marvellous Mile video .


Helping children stay active during the pandemic

Now we’re back in lockdown and many children are once again home learning. Children are missing out on physical activity at school whilst current restrictions on being outside mean there are fewer opportunities for us all to exercise. Start-Rite and The Daily Mile are urging families to incorporate 15 minutes of physical activity into daily life to help keep children fit and active and to experience the benefits of regular exercise together.

The #Find15 campaign encourages parents to head outside with their children three times a week, whether that’s for a brisk walk, jog or run.

To learn more about The Daily Mile’s research and how to get the most out of The Daily Mile at home, visit their website.



Healthy feet for healthy bodies

Our school shoes are designed to protect children’s feet and keep them comfy both inside the classroom and when they are on the move. Visit the School section of our website to find out more.

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Keep children happy and active

Find out more about how The Daily Mile can improve children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Parents can also get expert advice on helping children have happy feet for a whole lifetime.

Find out what children think about doing The Daily Mile.

Find out what children think about doing The Daily Mile.

Find out more
Top tips on choosing school shoes for children on the move.

Top tips on choosing school shoes for children on the move.

Find out more
Learn how we are bringing our expertise to The Daily Mile.

Learn how we are bringing our expertise to The Daily Mile.

Find out more

Experts in the way children move

Start-Rite is proud to partner The Daily Mile Foundation to bring our expertise in caring for children’s feet and manufacturing school shoes to The Daily Mile initiative. Our shared knowledge and research will help us support schools, parents and teachers in improving children’s health and wellbeing. Read more about The Daily Mile.