Health and Fitness: Running community get behind Big Freeze, Newcastle with Stride and Slide event to raise funds for Fight MND

When I saw a new running event – Stride and Slide – posted to social media through the week, I was instantly keen to find out more.

What I discovered was Dave “Robbo” Robertson, the man responsible for bringing parkrun to Newcastle six years ago and consequently helping give hundreds of Novocastrians the running bug, and a couple of other local running enthusiasts are taking part in this year’s Big Freeze, Newcastle.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Big Freeze was started in Melbourne three years ago by former AFL legend Neale Daniher.

It involves several celebrity types plunging themselves down a giant slide and into freezing cold water at the MCG to raise funds and awareness for Fight MND (Motor Neurone Disease).

This year’s MCG event is on today ahead of the Melbourne v Collingwood clash with all AFL coaches taking part in the slide from 2pm.

Big Freeze, Newcastle was first held last year. Among the sliders at No.1 Sportsground were Jets players Tara Andrews and Claire Coehlo, former Australian cricketer Anthony Stuart and an impromptu plunge by Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

In all, over $140,000 was raised for Fight MND through the 2017 Newcastle campaign.

This year there are nearly 20 sliders, including Robertson, who has joined forces with fellow sliders and members of the local running community Suku Thambar and Anthony Schwarzer  to create the Stride and Slide event on June 23.

SUPPORT: Dave "Robbo" Robertson is taking part in this year's Big Freeze, Newcastle and is also helping organise a community Stride and Slide running event.

SUPPORT: Dave "Robbo" Robertson is taking part in this year's Big Freeze, Newcastle and is also helping organise a community Stride and Slide running event.

“Pippa Rowntree, who is helping organise Big Freeze, Newcastle and is also part of running group Macca’s in touch a few months back and asked if we wanted to do a running event,” Robertson said.

“Having a health professional background, there’s an understanding of this disease and how debilitating it can be and what better way to support it than to mobilise our band of runners in town to do something positive and raise a few dollars and get behind it all.

“So we’re doing Stride and Slide and if we get 100 people, even 200, it would be awesome to see everyone in their beanies and their blue socks march over there and be there for the slide.”

There are different levels of entry for Stride and Slide, ranging in price from $10 to $45 with all proceeds going to Fight MND.

The premium option involves meeting at Newy parkrun at Carrington at 2pm, running over to No.1 Sportsground and watching the sliders in action, then a return jog to Carrington Bowling Club. You also get a Big Freeze beanie, socks and refreshment at the end. You can alternatively skip the run but still support the event.

There is also a Talking with the Experts evening on June 19 at Hamilton to raise funds for Fight MND. On the night some of Newcastle’s running experts, including Adam Clarke and Rio Olympian Scott Westcott, will share their tips on how to prepare for a marathon.

I’m planning to get along for the Stride and Slide this month and it would be great to see an army of Novocastrians out in force for the event. You can find our more about getting involved through:

Upcoming Fitness Events

Free Lunchtime Tai Chi, Civic Park, June 12 at 12.30pm: Revitalising Newcastle are holding a free 45-minute session.

Stride and Slide, Carrington, June 23 at 2pm: The local running community is getting behind the Big Freeze, which raises funds and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease, and are holding a two-stage run. Leg one is from Newy parkrun to No.1 to watch the sliders in action before the return leg. 

Raffertys Coastal Run, Cams Wharf, July 7: A 12km, 22km or 36km trail run along the Catherine Hill Bay coastline and through the Munmorah State Conservation Area.

Winter Warmers Week #2

Skipping is an exercise with plenty of benefits. It is great for cardiovascular fitness, can be done with limited space (so it’s good in wet weather) and comes at a low cost (you can pick up a rope for as little as $5). 

You can use it as a warm-up, for intervals or intersperse with strength exercises. Try this session which combines all of the above:

Warm-up: 2-3 minutes slow skipping. Part 1: 30 seconds skipping then 30sec strength (use squats, push-ups, lunges, rows, plank). Repeat twice. Part 2: Skipping intervals. 15 seconds fast: 45 slow/rest; 30: 30; 45: 15; 60: 60. Repeat twice. Cool-down: stretch.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.