TAKING the first step is the hardest.
In a world where we know children need to move more, perhaps we should go back to basics and set a more active example by making a run for it. Or at least chuck on the sneakers for a shuffle.
Parkrun Australia has launched a 12-month junior series trial with free events on the Gold Coast, The Whitsundays and a Melbourne suburban course. The two-kilometre course, with cheering volunteers every 100 metres, for children aged four to 14.
This is fast creating a fun, inclusive and motivation environment for children to enjoy one of the most basic of sporting fundamentals – moving. While we can be championing for such an event in Ballarat, you need not look far to know we have already made a running start for juniors of all abilities in organised community runs.
It is just a matter of helping to get more youngsters moving in real life rather than in simulated screen scenarios.
This can start with getting out there and taking the first steps to set a good example.
There have been some dark days in Ballarat sport when it comes to senior athlete role models. Unfortunately such shady scenes tend to overshadow the consistently good ones, whether it be from Australian Boomers brawling on an international basketball court to melees in community football in our backyard.
Grassroots participation sports experts reiterated to The Courier such behaviour creates questions on what is acceptable, or even, expected in sport.
We can and should talk about these issues as a community and more broadly in society, but individually, it is also important to look at you could do to make a difference and set the right tone.
Press Box suggests lacing up because this is an activity pretty much anyone can do – and do together.
We have proven this time and time again the past six years to create a new hospital children’s ward by running, walking or rolling in Run Ballarat. Just look to the super-inspired, popular CottonOn Kids’ 1km dash each year to know youngsters have an appetite to join in.
The annual event might be over but this does not mean we should stop.
Australian adults sit on average for 10.6 hours each day on workdays and children average 7.5 hours’ sitting (assuming two hours screen time), according to not-for-profit children’s health and movement champion BluEarth. We are sitting more than we are sleeping and more than two-thirds of all of us are not meeting the national recommended exercise guidelines.
Just take the first step.
Parkrun Ballarat’s weekly five-kilometre meet is open to anyone from four years old up – and there are four-year-olds registered. The group averages 150 to 180 people each Saturday morning, including winter. For most, it is just about finishing the course and being part of a community event.
Youngsters also run with parents and friends in other organised run clubs about town, outside the growing popularity of school-based run groups.
This is not about how fast or flash you are, it’s about trying. That is incredible lesson to get started on.
Do you want to make your voice heard? Here is your chance.