A primary school teacher who took up running during lockdown and vowed not shave his beard until schools returned properly will take part in the Virtual Great North Run to raise money for the school where he worked for four years.

Even though schools have now reopened, Iain Jenkins, who was a teacher at Carterton Primary School in Oxfordshire, has become quite attached to his new facial hair and hasn't shaved it off just yet

He is raising money to buy reading books for the school and has now decided that if he hits his fundraising target of £500, the beard will disappear.

Iain has documented the beard growth in a series of selfies and has been likened to Forrest Gump. His colleagues even bought him a t-shirt with the famous slogan ‘I just felt like running'!

He said: “I decided to take up running during lockdown when the gyms closed and social sports had stopped.

“I wanted to stay active and it was a safe and easy way to maintain social distancing during these difficult times.

“I am a primary school teacher and I was the schools PE Coordinator, so I have a huge interest in staying fit and healthy and promoting it to children.

“Now I have decided to run the Virtual Great North Run, to challenge myself further.

“The beard kind of just happened when we went in to lockdown and I decided that I wouldn't cut it off until schools returned properly, this received a lot of attention from colleagues and friends. 

“As more children returned towards the end of the school year they hardly recognised me, I even ran past some children and their parents, who I had taught for the last year and a half, and they didn't even recognise me.

“I worked at the school for four years. The first two years were whilst I was completing my teacher training which was school based and then they kept me on for another two years. I want to give something back to the school that supported me through my training.”
He left the school at the end of the last school year as his wife is in the RAF and has been posted elsewhere. 

He continued: “If I do not raise the £500 the beard will stay, I've grown quite attached to it”

To find out more about the Virtual Great North Run click here