Thousands move for health

Mitchells Plain Titans Juliana Smith makes her way to the finish line in Sundays Landmarks half marathon, in Claremont. The club is set to host its annual 21km race on Saturday November 21.

pictures: fuad esack

The run/walk formed part of the Landmarks event, with a half-marathon.

Bussed in from several of Cape Town’s under-resourced areas – many of these children had never participated in an event of this magnitude. Their smiling faces and joy of receiving a shiny medal and a healthy meal pack told a story.

The Move for your Health campaign aligns with the global World Health Organisation Movement to get people more physically active and so reduce the burden of chronic disease.

Professor Vicki Lambert, from UCT’s Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport (HPALS) research unit, described the campaign and event as “terrific and well-run, with so much fun for the children.”

This forms part of 1 840 Move for your Health events taking place around the world.

The Move for your Health campaign, developed by the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA), focuses predominantly on children and is completely reliant on a series of partnerships.

The secret to the success of this campaign is that a range of companies, media and organisations realise the value of collaborating so as to make a difference in children’s lives and to raise the awareness of the need to create more opportunities for kids to be physically active, in safe and fun environments; as well as to be guided to make healthy choices.

Race director of the Landmarks event and a key role player at Western Province Cricket Club (WPCC) – running division, Ted Vickery, is highly supportive of the Move for your Health initiative and the resultant School’s Mass Participation competition that plays out on the day.

Pieter Twine, general manager of the Woolworths and MySchool fund-raising programme who also enthusiastically ran the 6km event with his son, elaborates on their seven-year involvement with this event.

“With the Woolworths focus on healthier lifestyles, the Woolworths educational programme has been running for 15 years.

“It provides curriculum-based nutrition and exercise in primary schools and so encourages children to live healthier and to be more active.”

Other partners included Futurelife, SANParks, Claremont Rotary and MySchool.

Amplification of the health messages and training programmes was provided by Cape Community Newspapers, Supersport’s Let’s Play and Smile FM.

Says a glowing Dr Phatho Zondi, SSISA’s CEO, having run the 6km event: “The Move for your Health campaign is strongly aligned to SSISA’s core philosophy so it’s a great privilege to be able to bring various communities together to mark this initiative each year.”

While the main focus of the Landmarks event are the 21.1km and the 6km runs, there was much more on offer.

Springfield Convent High School’s Interact group, led by their teacher Bea Smit, entertained all with a vibey 10-girl marimba band and 20 girls who transformed little runners into Spiderman, princesses and tigers with their face-painting skills.

Keep an eye out for news of the winners of the 2018 School’s Mass Participation competition as well as for pictures of our visit to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where thousands of toys donated by runners with big hearts, will be handed over.

We have no doubt that if we can keep up this momentum and positive behaviour in Cape Town there can be a ripple effect far beyond our borders and our overall score in the 2018 Healthy Active Kids SA (HAKSA) report card will improve.

With no challenge too big for this team of enthusiastic race organisers and collaborations – watch this space for next year’s exciting and novel initiatives.

How wonderful if this campaign grew legs and was adopted by other clubs, corporates and institutions around SA. Now that would be an amazing story to tell.

Of course there are 10 months to go before we kick off our 2019 campaign, so that’s about 300 days to fill with whatever sorts of physical activity you enjoy – be it parkruns, forest and mountain hikes, playing Frisbee on the beach or tag-rugby in the neighbourhood park.

We don’t mind – so long as you are looking after your health.

Kathleen McQuaide is the SSISA strategic, media and sponsorship manager.