Running-mad dad signs up to Paris Marathon to raise money for new Ashlyns School sports hall

Ashlyns students are excited about the development of their new sports hal
Ashlyns students are excited about the development of their new sports hal

A dad of two Berkhamsted secondary school students is running the Paris Marathon next month in a bid to raise sponsorship funds to equip the new sports hall currently under construction at Ashlyns School.

Russell Green, who has a son and daughter at the school, is aiming to beat the total of £2,000 he raised for a local charity when he ran the Virgin London Marathon in 2014 – and is also hoping the training he’s put in will bring him a new PB in the 26.2 mile challenge.

Russell Green is busy training for the marathon

Russell Green is busy training for the marathon

Green, director of corporate sales at the InterContinental Hotels Group in Bucks, said that he couldn’t think of a better cause to run for at this year’s Paris Marathon.

“I think we can all agree that we can be a healthier society, and that starts with easily accessible sports facilities,” he said.

“So what better than providing young students and residents of Berkhamsted with a safe and state-of-the-art facility to get fitter?”

At present, the school of 1,200 students has a 1930s gym facility with room for just one badminton court, and changing rooms are housed in a series of portables outside the main building.

I can honestly say that regular running has given me a new lease of life.

Russell Green, director of corporate sales at the InterContinental Hotels Group

The new state-of-the-art building will boast a sports hall large enough for four courts and more, as well as a dance studio, a gym with 60 stations and four changing rooms.

Speaking from his own experience, Green said: “I can honestly say that regular running has given me a new lease of life.”

He began running less than three years ago, after realising that his high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise were a ‘perfect storm’ in the making.

That same year, Green’s company sponsored the London Olympic Games, and he was lucky enough to meet a range of ‘truly inspirational Olympians and Paralympians.’

“Their stories inspired me to take my running to the next level,” he said. “A dinner with Sebastian Coe sealed the deal and I was truly converted!”

Within the year, he’d won a place in the 2013 London Marathon, running the event for Urban Access – a Hemel Hempstead-based charity which helps children with social issues.

He’d hoped to run in London this year, but was unsuccessful in securing a place through the ballot so turned to Paris.

With the goal of raising £2,500, Green says he’s already raised more than £300 – a month before the gun goes off.

Green’s campaign is part of a wider initiative led by the parent-led Ashlyns School Association to raise a total of £60,000 for new kit.

This includes fitness equipment, nets, balls, mats and other items for the new £2 million sports hall, which is scheduled for completion in July.

The hall will provide top-notch indoor sports facilities for the school and the wider community, with access to the public in the evenings and on weekends.

The ASA ran a successful sponsorship drive earlier this month when it encouraged Ashlyns families to run in the Berkhamsted Five Mile Fun Run, raising more than £3,000 from the dozens of students, parents and staff who took part.

To donate to Green’s Ashlyns Sports Hall campaign, please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/russellrunsparis.