Morpeth schoolgirl Sienna Bowen completes 1,000-mile fundraising challenge

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A Morpeth schoolgirl has completed running a thousand miles for charity after seeing her mum get upset by news reports of children suffering in war-torn countries.

Sienna Bowen, 11, set out on her first jog in March 2021 and has been running a mile after school and at weekends ever since.

Her aim was to raise at least £5,000 for Save the Children and on Saturday she achieved just that – and notched up her 1000th mile in front of relatives, pals and supporters.

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Describing what it was like to cross the finishing line, the youngster said: “It felt amazing – now my little legs can have a rest from running. It just feels brilliant to be finished.”

Sienna at the end of her thousand-mile challenge.Sienna at the end of her thousand-mile challenge.
Sienna at the end of her thousand-mile challenge.

And her delighted mum Salwa said she was “massively impressed” with Sienna for finishing. She added: “It really doesn’t matter how big you are or how strong you are, it’s the size of your heart that matters and the courage to keep trying is what really matters.”

Sienna first had the idea to take part in the challenge after seeing her mum tear up while watching the news about children in Yemen and Syria.

Salwa, who spent much of her childhood and adolescence in a war-torn country, said at the time, she had been teaching Sienna and her siblings Ben, 13, and Tamara, 15, how fortunate they were to grow up in a safe environment, with access to food, water and medicine.

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She explained: “When Sienna saw me tearing up watching the children on the news, she knew that I felt their pain, because we’d been talking recently about mummy’s experience growing up, and how lots of children were still in unsafe places.

Sienna Bowen was just nine when she started her challenge.Sienna Bowen was just nine when she started her challenge.
Sienna Bowen was just nine when she started her challenge.

“She ran straight up to her bedroom and came down with all £30.25 of her savings from her money box and asked me to send the money away to help save those children.

"I thought that was the end of it, but the next day she came downstairs with her trainers in hand and announced that she’d spoken to Ben and Tamara and they were going to help her run 1000 miles to help save the children of war. She’s been running ever since.”

Salwa says she was initially doubtful that Sienna would be able to run so far, given her petite size, but that she’s been blown away by her daughter’s dedication.

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“There have been times when Sienna hasn’t felt like going for a run, but she laces up her shoes every day and tells me it’s time for us to go and do our one mile. I told her many times that she’d already done a great amount and did not have to continue, but she would not hear of it. I know she’ll be over the moon to stop running – but quitting has never been an option for her.

Sienna is supported by her siblings on one of her runs.Sienna is supported by her siblings on one of her runs.
Sienna is supported by her siblings on one of her runs.

“It’s a long way for a little girl to run, but Sienna truly believes the ‘magic of kindness’ can change a child’s world – and that’s what’s kept her going.”

The schoolgirl actually managed to raise £5,792 for Save the Children, adding: “I just really want the world to be a better, kinder place for all children, because mummy was once one of those children.”

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