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Steps challenge swells entries for Downham Market Games

PUBLISHED: 12:39 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:05 29 May 2019

Young people enjoy last year's Downham Market Games Picture: Bennys Photography

Young people enjoy last year's Downham Market Games Picture: Bennys Photography

Bennys Photography

Numbers taking part in a town's annual games have soared thanks to a steps challenge.

Some of the medal winners from last year's event   Picture: Bennys PhotographySome of the medal winners from last year's event Picture: Bennys Photography

More than 900 youngsters from in and around Downham Market are using pedometers to measure how many steps they take.

The aim is to clock up 14.5m before next week's Downham Market Games - the equivalent of walking from Downham to Tokyo, hosts of the 2020 Olympics.

Wimbotsham and Stow Academy, Downham Preparatory School, Nelson Academy, Hillcrest Primary and Downham Market Academy are all getting involved.

The four primary schools are holding events this month aiming to increase their steps with sponsored runs and walks.

The Downham Games has organised a community step challenge. Picture: Downham GamesThe Downham Games has organised a community step challenge. Picture: Downham Games

Organiser Frances Rayner said she did not anticipate the numbers that are getting involved in this year's event.

"We hoped to get maybe 100 people involved but it's looking like we are going to massively exceed all expectations," she said.

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"Kids love it, there's something about the pedometer that gets them constantly running around and checking how many steps they've done."

Some 700 pedometers have been sold and an additional 200 are being borrowed and used in schools. Nelson Academy alone has 300 children using them.

"Hats off to them really. Teachers at Nelson Academy have really pushed it to get everyone involved," said Mrs Rayner. "There's been a massive drive."

West Norfolk Mind will be attending the event to promote the charity.

Mrs Rayner added: "Physical Health and mental wellbeing are hugely driven by the amount of physical activity that we do and we want to demonstrate that this can be as simple as walking every day and increasing the amount of steps we take as much as possible."

A number of sporting activities will be taking place at the games including football, rugby, tennis, squash, cricket and archery. There is a chance to win signed football boots by former Norwich City Player Josh Murphy, who hails from Downham, in a penalty shoot-out.

The event is being held on the Memorial Field from 10.30am on Sunday, June 9. Trophies will be presented at 2.30pm for those involved in the competitions.

Refreshments will be available.

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