Girl, 11, runs 1000 miles in Northumberland for children's charity

Sienna Bowen has completed 1000 miles for charity Save the Children. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees.

A 11-year-old girl from Northumberland has completed running a thousand miles for charity after seeing her mother upset watching the news about children suffering in war-torn countries.

Sienna Bowen, from Morpeth, set out on her first jog in March 2021, and has been running a mile a day after school ever since.  

She first had the idea to complete the challenge after seeing her mother Salwa tearing up whilst 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.

Salwa said: “When Sienna saw me tearing up watching the children on the news, she knew that I felt their pain.

“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 a thousand miles to help save the children of war.

"She’s been running ever since.”

Sienna said: “I really want the world to be a better, kinder place for all children because mummy was once one of those children.”

The schoolgirl hopes to raise £5,000 for Save the Children and has even received support by Sir Mo Farah.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist, who is a long-standing Ambassador for the children’s charity, shared Sienna’s running journey with his fans on Instagram, encouraging them to donate to help children affected by conflict.

Friends and family gathered together at Carlisle Park on Saturday 8 April to cheer Sienna on as she treads her thousandth mile to the finish line.

  • Watch Chris Conway's report here.

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

Sienna and Salwa have also began a campaign getting more children around the world to join in the challenge - whether by running walking, swimming, cycling or hiking - in a bid to tally up 24,900 miles in total, representing the Earth’s circumference.

A boy from Sienna’s school is already part way through a thousand mile cycle challenge, and children from as far as New Zealand and the US are now wanting to take part.

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