Loughborough is a university full of sporting excellence- this is unquestionable. From the impressive Olympic-size swimming pool, to the hall of fame of previous students (England Rugby’s Sir Clive Woodward and the legendary Lord Sebastian Coe KBE, to name but a few), Loughborough sets the standards for exceptional sport across countries in the UK. But have you ever found this all immensely intimidating?
The majority of us are not the Roger Federers or Jess Ennis’ of this world. But at Loughborough the culture of sport can sometimes feel like it is pushing you to be. Countless trails, training sessions, briefings and fixtures ensure that AU teams are constantly playing at the highest possible standard. This is by no means a negative thing; the university’s continuous sporting prestige is one of its greatest assets. However, it can leave those who may not be the next great Olympian or England hockey player, yet love sport all the same, feeling somewhat excluded.
For a while IMS sport filled this gap allowing students to be part of fun, friendly fixtures between halls. But even this has now become more serious and competitive, evident in the fact that last year I took part in trails which were just to get into the Harry French netball team. So it seems that even IMS sports are subjecting participants to a certain amount of pressure.
What happened to sports where there are no expectations bar what you expect of yourself?
Enter ‘My Lifestyle’: A new England Sport and National Lottery Funded program, with already 1000 participants, specifically designed for students who want to exercise, keep fit and play sport for fun in an environment free from competition, expectation and commitment. Found at www.loughboroughsport.com/my-lifestyle, sports include running, back to netball, touch rugby, ‘just play’ football, boot camp and the Nike training camp, as well as fitness classes, cardio planning, weight training and nutrition advice.
‘Join the 5000’ is the first of many mass participation events organised by My Lifestyle and Loughborough Students Athletic Club, aimed at getting more people active and enjoying it on a regular basis. It is a 5000 metre (5km) run around the university on Sunday March 3rd, with all roads closed to traffic throughout the event. Paralympic gold medalist Richard Whitehead is supporting the event which is a great opportunity for everyone; staff, students and the community alike, to set a new personal target. There is a small fee to enter and a HALLrun every Monday evening at 7pm if you need some help getting started.
So whether it is 30 minutes or three hours, set your own standard of sporting excellence and ?#JOINTHE5000. See you there!