International parkrun Day was celebrated on Saturday, despite the rainy conditions, marking 14 years since what has become a global phenomenon started in London’s Bushy Park.
Incredibly, parkrun is now held in over 1500 places around the world, including 12 events in our very own region, with more than 250,000 participants and volunteers.
The free timed five-kilometre event is held each Saturday at 8am and has been a life-changer for many people wanting to get more active.
It provides a perfect starting point in a supportive, social and encouraging environment. You can take the whole family, including your dog in some cases.
Running is not for everyone though and if cycling is more appealing to you then there are some events this month that might be of interest.
The inaugural Mongrel Classic, a mountain bike riding event at Richmond Vale on October 20, caters to the whole family.
On October 14, the Harbour2Vine Cycle Classic, formerly known as the Crowne2Crowne Cycle Classic, celebrates its 10th anniversary.
The 64km on-road cycling event from Rydges Newcastle on the harbour to Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley at Lovedale raises funds for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
This year for the first time it includes a cycle-through of Maitland. There is also a kids 1km event to be held within the grounds of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. The event is the brainchild of Dr Jerry Schwartz, who owns hotels in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.
“Some cyclists take the event very seriously – and the new course is more challenging – but we also like to make this a family-friendly event, so we are encouraging the whole family to take part with children able to have great fun on a course that we set up around the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley,” Dr Schwartz said in a press release.
“There will be breakfasts at the start of the event on the Newcastle harbour-front and a barbecue lunch at the end, and in between cyclists will be able to enjoy the beautiful countryside while knowing they are raising funds for a really important cause.”
You can find out more at harbour2vine.com.au.
Walking Netball Newcastle Trial
Netball NSW is rolling out Walking Netball, a new program aimed to remove barriers to sports participation for older people.
It is designed so anyone can play, regardless of age or fitness level and fun, laughter and friendship are the focus.
Netball NSW will launch a free eight-week pilot of the program at the Newcastle Netball Association on October 15 and are putting the call out to participants to get along and join in the exercise class-style trial program.
It is free to sign up and participate and participant applications will be accepted throughout the eight-week trial.
According to nsw.netball.com.au: “Netball NSW and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services have entered into a partnership to develop a program that modifies netball to remove barriers to participation for older people to experience health and social benefits of the sport. The modified netball program will be a slower version of the game; netball, but at a walking pace.”
Each session will go for one hour and comprise skills, drills, strength work, balance, co-ordination and a game of Walking Netball.
You can find out more at playwalkingnetball.com.au.
McDonald Jones Stadium Yoga
Yoga Loft are hosting The World’s Biggest Yoga Class at McDonald Jones Stadium on October 20 from 8.30am to 10am.
The session on the stadium’s football field is raising funds for the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF) Borneo Coast to Coast Trek and will cater to all levels of yoga practice.
Find out more at yogaloft.com.au.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Harbour2Vine Cycle Classic, starts Newcastle harbour, October 14: Formerly the Crowne2Crowne Cycle Classic, this on-road cycle event is celebrating its 10th anniversary. There is a 64km ride from the harbour to the Hunter Valley and a kids 1km ride.
Mongrel Classic, Richmond Vale, October 20: It is marketed as the ‘newest and fanciest mountain bike event in the country’. Suited to the whole family, there is 12km, 40km and 60km.
Fernleigh 15, Fernleigh Track, October 21: A 15-kilometre course along the Fernleigh Track. Do it as an individual or a team of five with change-over zones at each railway station.
Spring Sessions Week #6
Cycling is a non-impact way to exercise and might be an alternative for those who struggle with running or walking. It is also good if you are coming back from injury or looking for some cross training.
Try this session at the gym or outdoors on your bike:
5 minute steady pace warm-up.
5 x [30 seconds easy: 30sec harder]; 2min recovery; 3min hill climb [make it harder every 30sec until you need to stand to keep going]; 1min recovery; 10 x [40sec hard: 20sec easy. This could be standing and sitting working intervals]; 1min recovery; 5min steady pace; 3min cool-down.
Send your health and fitness news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.