Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 16.45.13Dozens of schoolchildren have been getting themselves in “Peake” condition at Teesside University in a bid to experience what it takes to become an astronaut.

Around 40 year nine pupils from Manor Community Academy in Hartlepool took part in the Space to Earth Challenge at the University.

The event was designed to encourage youngsters to follow in the footsteps of British astronaut Tim Peake who is coming back to Earth from the International Space Station in June.

The pupils had to join forces for a mission to cover a combined 400km – the distance from the International Space Station to Earth.

Using the specialist facilities at the University and working in teams, the energetic youngsters attempted to cover the distance through running, cycling and swimming or aqua jogging in the hydrotherapy pool – recording each other’s achievements as they went along.

At the end of the day all of the teams’ distances were added up and the school managed to cover a total of 346 km.

Gary Crawley, Recruitment and Outreach Manager at Teesside University, said: “We actively work with a wide range of schools and colleges to bring pupils onto campus and engage them with activities that can also get them thinking about potential career opportunities.

“It was wonderful to have the pupils and staff from Manor Community Academy at the University – they have been a fantastic group to work with.  Their energy and enthusiasm and willingness to take part has been amazing.

“The Space to Earth Challenge was a fantastic event and with Tim Peake currently in space, it captures their imagination. The activities were all about demonstrating how fit you need to be to become an astronaut and the team effort encouraged all children to get involved and recognise the combined effort of the school’s achievements.”

Manor Community Academy pupil Meg O’Brien, 14, said: “It has been a really good day, but hard work. It is nice that everybody is working together.”

Fellow pupil Jack Clark, 13, added: “The activities are fairly straight forward – the hard part is keeping it going.”

The Space to Earth Challenge also works with the British Triathlon Foundation Trust and the UK Space Agency to engage children in physical activity, while also learning about the science of space travel. The University and the British Triathlon Foundation Trust will be visiting five schools in different boroughs of the Tees Valley next week in the build up to the Tour de Yorkshire.

Upwards of 1,200 pupils across the Tees Valley will take part in fitness activities, including running and cycling, with all the data recorded and converted into space miles.

All the schools who take part will then be invited onto campus on Sunday 1 May when the Tour De Yorkshire passes through the University and the British Triathlon Foundation Trust bikes will be in Campus Heart for people to have a go.

There will be a festival atmosphere at the University throughout the morning with street food stalls, music and live entertainment from Let’s Circus and their dare devil BMX cycle team performing stunts.

Gary added: “Tim Peake’s space mission and the Tour De Yorkshire coming through the University are two perfect examples of how we can use current events to encourage and motivate the schoolchildren to be active, learn together and work as a team.”