Manorfield Primary School

Primary school headteacher set to run London half marathon after being told he would 'never run again'



Manorfield head Paul Jackson will run the Vitality Big Half 2020 alongside growing team of school fundraisers



A Headteacher at a primary school in Tower Hamlets will run a half marathon in March 2020 after recovering from a knee injury that saw medical professionals advising he would not be able to run again.


Mr Paul Jackson, who has been Head of Manorfield Primary school for 4 years, has come back from a knee injury obtained during training for the 2018 London marathon and will tackle the Vitality Big Half half-marathon on March 1st alongside over 350 ‘Team Manorfield’ runners aiming to ‘allow children access to outstanding learning experiences’, the school’s fundraising page describes.


‘Our school is in one of the most deprived parts of the country and serves an underprivileged community’, Mr Jackson said. ‘[The Big Half] is a fantastic opportunity to bring together the wider school community. It shows the power of what can happen when groups of people work together for a common aim’.


Mr Jackson’s road to the 2020 Big Half has been far from easy. Whilst training for the 2018 London Marathon, Jackson suffered a serious injury to his right knee. ‘Several MRI scans led to medical professionals telling me I would never run again’, Paul explained.


‘Life on crutches and not being able to walk properly was not fun. But months of physio, rehab and visits to the gym eventually led to the physiotherapist telling me to try a two minute gentle run. Two minutes became three minutes, three became four and on it went!’


The latter part of 2019 has seen Paul complete two half marathons, and he has explained he is determined to join the hundreds of runners already signed up and in training to complete the Vitality Big Half in March to raise funds for the school. ‘Manorfield’s involvement in the Big Half has been a highlight of the school calendar for the past two years: 2020’s run will have a huge legacy for Manorfield Primary and our local community’.


Manorfield’s fundraising effort will seek to complete work on the cooking facilities that began after last year’s Big Half. The completion of this Teaching Kitchen ‘is vital’, Mr Jackson says, ‘to break the cycle of malnutrition and obesity which have a hugely negative impact on a child’s health, wellbeing and ability to thrive’. Any further funds raised will go toward developing the school’s outdoor learning and sports facilities.


‘We want to give the children and families that we work with the very best start in life’, says Mr Jackson.  ‘Many of our children face huge barriers, but we will not use these as excuses: we’ll find ways to overcome them and enable the children to achieve both academically and in all that they do.’


To support Paul and his team on their fundraising, visit


Paul’s individual page:


If you would like to join Manorfield’s team of runners in The Big Half, please contact at



For more information on the Big Half, visit:


Follow Manorfield on Twitter (@ManorfieldPri) here: