The Daily Mile Research



  • Two thirds of teachers believe The Daily Mile is an essential part of the school day.
  • Over 77% of teachers say that The Daily Mile has a positive impact on the attentiveness and concentrations levels of children across the school day.
  • 95% of teacher believe that The Daily Mile has had a positive impact on attitudes towards physical activity among the children in the school

Sixty-six years on from Roger Bannister being the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes, Athletics Ireland have released research backed by INEOS , Irish Life Health, and SPAR, on the importance of the Daily Mile in the health and wellbeing of primary school children.

According to the new research, teachers see The Daily Mile as an essential part of the school day, with THREE-QUARTERS of primary school teachers stating that The Daily Mile has a positive impact on the attentiveness and concentrations levels of children throughout the school day.

2019/20 Participation

The Daily Mile has seen rapid growth since its introduction in Ireland in late 2018, and its rapid rise has seen almost 200,000 primary school children taking part in 15 minutes of daily exercise up until recent school closures as a result of Covid-19.

Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland highlighted the success of the programme over the last 18 months: “The Daily Mile movement really is something special, and it’s great to have partners who are so passionate about improving the health and well-being of the children of Ireland. The success and rapid growth which we’ve seen since it was launch in late 2018 could not have been achieved without the backing of INEOS, Irish Life Health, SPAR, Tomar Trust, Health Ireland, and our Local Sports Partnerships.”

Planning for the future

Today’s announcement also included findings considered significant in light of the fact that many children are unlikely to be receiving the same opportunities to exercise because of ongoing restrictions.

Adams, also commented; “Now is the time for us to plan for when schools get back up and running again. We need to ensure that exercise is placed as a priority when it comes to formulating primary school curriculums. We need to focus our attention nationally on developing physical literacy capacities and capabilities in our children and young people to help them live heathier lives, both physically and mentally”.

Health and Wellbeing

191 teachers from across the country took part in the research survey which pointed to a range of benefits resulting from children being engaged in daily exercise.

Physical benefits associated with taking part in The Daily Mile, which is supported by existing research, shows how regular physical activity also has a positive impact on mental health. Over 90% of teachers who completed the research survey said that The Daily Mile is having a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the children in the school.

Marketing Director of Irish Life Health Liz Rowen said: “It is so important that we give children every opportunity to live a healthier life and at Irish Life Health, we are strong advocates of the benefits of being active. It’s so positive to see Sport Ireland reporting over 950,000 additional people engaged in walking or running in recent weeks, and the benefits associated with this should be something taught to everyone from an early age. The Daily Mile has the potential to be that change, and we would love to see it rolled out in every school across Ireland. This research has confirmed for us how important teachers view physical activity as part of the school day, and hopefully it will encourage all primary schools to get involved.”

Social Interaction

As well as benefits to the children’s physical health, the research has also pointed to The Daily Mile as an important social interaction for children with over 85% of teachers stating how The Daily Mile increases the opportunity for social interaction among children in the school.

Colin Donnelly, SPAR Sales Director, commented on the importance of remaining healthy and active during these challenging times:

 “SPAR is delighted to be once again partnering with Athletics Ireland to support the Daily Mile and to promote healthy lifestyles. SPAR is passionate about promoting the importance of healthy eating and engaging in exercise, especially during these extraordinary times and it is important to continue to promote that message. Staying healthy and active is especially important at the moment and an initiative like the Daily Mile is a fabulous message to champion. All our independent SPAR retailers are going above and beyond to serve their local communities and supporting Athletics Ireland in this initiative is in keeping with our ethos.”

The Daily Mile at home

A core principle of The Daily Mile is that it remains free and fully accessible to any child that would like to take part, and this doesn’t change event in light of current restrictions.

Frank Greally, The Athletics Ireland Ambassador for The Daily Mile, who has championed the initiative since its roll out over 18 months ago, is calling on all students to keep up their “Daily Mile at Home” over the coming weeks and months.

He said “This research has backed up what many of us have known for some time, that this programme really works and that it needs to be rolled out in early school when things return to some form of normality. For now however, I’m calling on all primary school children to get back on the runners and get out for their daily dose of exercise. And what better time to start back then on the date that Roger Bannister led the way for so many others to follow”.


  • The Daily Mile programme seeks to encourage children walk or run at their own pace for 15 minutes every day – making them fitter, healthier, and better able to concentrate in the classroom. More information available at
  • The Daily Mile Report 2019/20 - Click HERE
  • The benefits of physical activity. The Daily Mile UK Research - Click Here
  • Ireland Staying Active During COVID-19 Restrictions – Sport Ireland Research - Click Here
  • There will be a live Daily Mile discussion webinar taking place this evening at 7pm. Please click here for more information.
  • The Daily Mile in Ireland is supported by INEOS, Irish Life Health, SPAR, Healthy Ireland, Tomar Trust, Athletics Ireland, and Local Sports Partnerships

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