No more lazy lunchtimes: admissions team win staff fitness challenge
A team of staff from the Admissions Office who between them cycled, walked, ran and swam more than 2,000 kilometres in May have won the prize for the most inspiring response to Sussexsport’s ‘commit to get fit’ challenge.
Seven teams completed the challenge laid down by the University’s sports service, who started the challenge with the annual boundary walk, supported teams with extra classes and offered personal training advice and discounted sports membership throughout the month.
A panel of judges from Sussexsport and the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Office looked at what each team achieved and picked their favourite entries. The admissions team was the overall winner but each team was chosen by at least one judge.
Judges praised the admissions team’s stamina – they cycled 1,188km, walked 751.5km, ran 105.3km, and swam 3.75km - and their willingness to try new activities. Members of the team tried for the first time badminton, basketball, boxercise, a céilidh, circuit training, fencing, mölkky, table tennis, trampolining, yoga and zumba.
One judge said: “I think they put across the case for exercise very well. It brought not only their team together but helped them get to know people from other teams. Also, they acknowledge the part that the University campus and management have to play in encouraging access to physical activity.”
Team member James Bonner said: “There is no doubt that competing against and encouraging each other throughout the last month has shown us just how sport can loosen boundaries between people – we have had a giggle together along the way and found out all sorts about each other just on the way to the Sports Centre.
“We hope that this last month has acted as a springboard for much more to come and we do feel quite confident. It looks like some of the team will be signing up to the sports centre, and we now have official “office” table tennis bats for anyone who fancies a game. We really think we are less likely now to just stare at our computers at lunchtime.”
The team was presented with a trophy at an event today (Monday 11 June), held to celebrate the end of the challenge. They will also receive a prize of an on-site visit by a massage therapist or a team meal at Dine Central.
Also taking part were teams from Careers and Employability; Human Resources; Life Sciences; Residential, Sport and Trading Services (not including Sport); Student Recruitment and Widening Participation (two teams).
Karen Creffield, Head of Sport, said that the response from staff has been “fantastic”, adding: “The feedback from those participating is that the benefits have been far reaching with great examples not only of individuals and teams feeling fitter, healthier and more energised but also some great comments about team spirit and getting to know colleagues better.”
A prize of a £25 iTunes voucher or a three-month gold sports membership was also given to Fiona Hurd in Life Sciences for the best blog written about the challenge. Judges liked her imaginative use of photos and videos in her frequent reports on her team’s progress, and enjoyed reading about her (successful) attempt to try all of the 19 different classes currently on Sussexsport’s programme.
More than 80 blog posts about the challenge were published on the University’s SPLASH website.
Chris Derbyshire in Student Recruitment Services (widening participation) and James Bonner in admissions were runners-up in the blog competition.
The May fitness challenge was run in conjunction with the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Office, who are currently drawing up a new policy stating the commitment of the University to promoting and supporting staff and student wellbeing. The policy encourages managers to allow staff to work flexibly where possible to allow their participation in exercise, fitness classes and sessions that can help promote physical and emotional wellbeing.