Why is the parkrun so popular?

The parkrun (written with a small “p”) is a collection of in excess of 2000 5-kilometre (or 3.1 mile) events for walkers and runners which are held every Saturday morning in twenty two countries around the world. In addition to that there is a childrens parkrun over 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) for kids aged 4 to 14 on a Sunday morning. These parkrun’s happen to be free to take part and are staffed and run by volunteers, even though there can be a a few employed personnel at its headquarters. The parkrun was launched by Paul Sinton-Hewitt with the initial run getting put on at Bushy Park in London, England on 2 October back in 2004. The event grew from there becoming duplicated in many other Great Britain venues. They were at first referred to as UK Time Trials with the label, parkrun, initially getting used in 2008 when expansion began to take place in other countries. The parkruns occur in various sorts of locations including parks, nature parks, woodlands, estuaries and rivers, lakes, beaches, as well as prisons. Those participants that have completed 50, 100, or 500 of the runs are given a free tee shirt. Once a participant has registered on the parkrun website and gets a bar code, they’re able to travel to and take part in any throughout the world where they are usually referred to as “tourists”. The record holder of the run for men is Andrew Baddeley with a time of 13 minutes and 48 seconds and the woman’s fastest is Lauren Reid who has a time of 15 minutes and 45 seconds.

The founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt was granted a CBE by the Queen for his services to grassroots sports activity in 2014 for that which parkrun has become. At the moment you will find nearly 7 million participants registered worldwide with parkrun. This amazing fast growth is mainly due to its simpleness and accessibility. Participants only need to signup on the web just once after which they basically turn up at any parkrun event and run. The inclusive viewpoint can also be almost certainly one factor as participants cover anything from competitive and fast club athletes to those that just walk the 5km. Wheelchair users, individuals pushing strollers with young children and individuals running with their animals are welcome. The events happen to be acclaimed among the list of greatest public health initiatives of our time for promoting exercise as well as as being a social movement to the common good.

Each parkrun event is staffed and administered by volunteers with the important equipment furnished by the parkrun head office. These volunteers are considered the heart of the parkrun movement and their efforts are credited on the parkrun’s web site every week. A short while ago the writer, Eileen Jones journeyed around the UK and stopped at a lot of the 730 parkrun venues there and spoke with runners and walkers and discussed the way a 5km event on a Saturday morning had changed their life. Jone’s work was published in a book having the title of “how parkrun changed our lives”.

At the start of March in 2020, the vast majority of parkrun gatherings ended up cancelled around the world as a consequence of the COVID crisis. At the beginning of 2021 some events started to return, primarily since the pandemic began to be controlled in some countries around the world.

What do eSports Athletes eat?

Press release:

A can of Red Bull next to the computer mouse, a bag of potato chips next to the keyboard – that’s how many people imagine nutrition in eSports. “The energy drink is indeed part of the diet for many,” says Professor Ingo Froböse, head of the Institute of Movement Therapy and movement-oriented Prevention and Rehabilitation at the German Sport University Cologne, “but overall, eSports players actually eat better than the general population.”

This is the result of the third eSport study by the German Sport University Cologne, which was presented in Cologne on February 3, 2021. The two previous eSport studies focused on training and health behavior as well as media consumption and mental well-being; this year’s survey concentrates on nutrition. Together with the AOK Rhineland/Hamburg, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ingo Froböse surveyed about 820 eSport athletes of all skill levels. A special challenge this year: Due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the data of the eSport Study 2021 was not collected at eSport events, but completely online.

Energy drinks are part of eSports

The consumption of energy drinks, which is often associated with eSports, is more than just a cliché. Around 40 percent of respondents consume the drinks regularly, drinking just over one can per week on average. Energy drink manufacturers have been sponsoring major eSports events and teams for years. In addition, many of these drinks are associated with a supposed increase in performance and thus appear particularly attractive for eSports players. These marketing strategies could well explain why consumption among gamers is above average. “The high amounts of sugar in these beverages should of course be viewed negatively from a health science perspective. Accordingly, consumption should be significantly reduced,” says Froböse, who recommends a handful of nuts and lightly sweetened tea instead for an energy boost in the game.

Nevertheless, overall sugar consumption is significantly lower than that of the general population. Whether soft drinks, chocolate or other sweets, eSport players consume less than other groups. An average of one bar of chocolate per week and a small bowl of salty snacks indicate health-conscious eating behavior.

Furthermore, fast food and ready-to-eat products are only eaten twice a week on average. The cliché of a quick slice of pizza in front of the console therefore seems to be outdated.

Meat is preferred to vegetables

However, there is still a need for optimization. “We see the same problem among eSport athletes as in the general population: there is still too much meat and too few vegetables on the menu,” Froböse concludes. While the German Nutrition Society recommends five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, just 15 percent of the men and 25 percent of the women surveyed achieve this recommendation. Although an above-average proportion of eSport players are vegetarians or vegans (14.8 %), the remaining group eats meat almost every day. “In particular, the consumption of red meat, which is associated with negative effects on health, should be reduced accordingly,” explains Froböse.

DIY cooking is the trend

The survey results show that half of all respondents do their own cooking at least five days a week. Only five percent of respondents leave the cooking of meals completely to someone else. This is even more astonishing when one considers that the group of esport players consists of 86 percent men, who, who actually cook rather rarely according to previous studies. “Of course, we hope that this development will continue after the pandemic. Those who cook for themselves also decide what ends up in the cooking pot. This is the first step towards a healthy and balanced diet,” explains Rolf Buchwitz, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the AOK Rhineland/Hamburg.

No negative influence from the pandemic

The results of the study also reveal that the pandemic has only a minor impact on the health behavior of the respondents. As in previous years, the average level of physical activity among the target group is well above the recommendations of the World Health Organization. The eSports players spend more than nine and a half hours per week on physical activity. That’s about an hour more than that of respondents of last year’s study. Almost all respondents also still rate their health and well-being as good. “We would have expected the pandemic and the accompanying restrictions on everyday life to have a negative impact on the respondents’ own health ratings and sense of well-being. Instead, the target group was able to maintain the level of previous years and even improve it in some cases,” says Froböse.

Still potential for optimization overall

“In general, the clichés of the junk-food-eating gamer are outdated,” concludes Froböse on the eSports study 2021. “Reducing the consumption of meat and energy drinks can be an important starting point for targeted health promotion that takes both health and performance of eSport players to the next level.”

Nominees announced for Covid Inspiration Award

Press Release:

Tenacity and determination are some of the traits that propel athletes to greatness. In a year beset by unprecedented challenges, roadblocks and disruptions brought on by the global Covid-19 pandemic, they were also key attributes that drove many event organisers across athletics to meet those challenges and provide competitive opportunities for athletes and entertaining events for fans around the world.

To celebrate those efforts, World Athletics is delighted to announce the nominees for the Covid Inspiration Award, a special honour this year to recognise an individual or group of individuals whose efforts have resulted in the delivery of a particularly inspiring athletics event or experience in 2020.

“Necessity has been the mother of invention for all of us in this pandemic year and we have seen some really creative initiatives and programmes from our athletes and our event organisers, who have had to reinvent their operations and surmount huge obstacles in order to provide competition for our athletes and fans, which is the lifeblood of our sport,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said. “We wanted to recognise their enormous resilience and creativity this year by presenting this special award to one of those events that have been exceptionally innovative this year.”

The three nominees, as selected by World Athletics Council Members, are (listed alphabetically):

Herculis EBS Monaco Wanda Diamond League meeting

After a slew of cancellations and postponements that delayed the start of the international season, meeting organisers overcame unprecedented public health and safety concerns, global travel restrictions and painful budget cuts to stage their annual event and finally kick off the interrupted Diamond League season on 14 August, an evening capped by Joshua Cheptegei’s stunning world 5000m record before a crowd of 5000 fans.

In all, 132 athletes – 13 of those reigning world champions – from 36 countries in six federation areas competed across 14 disciplines. Underscoring the quality of the event, 14 world-leading performances were set at the meeting. Of those, 11 remained the year’s best performances at the end of the season.

Ultimate Garden Clash, an original idea by Renaud Lavillenie

A series of three innovative competitions, devised by Renaud Lavillenie and his fellow pole vaulters who presented their idea to World Athletics. The events were held over a five-week period in which athletes faced off via a live video link while competing in their respective training bases.

Organised jointly by the athletes and World Athletics, and broadcast live on its social media platforms, the Ultimate Garden Clash featured separate men’s and women’s pole vault competitions and a triathlon event with three of the world’s best decathletes. The men’s pole vault edition on 3 May between world champion Sam Kendricks, world record-holder Mondo Duplantis and former world record-holder Lavillenie was the world’s first high-level ‘live’ athletics competition since global lockdowns went into effect in March, and attracted more than one million viewers from more than 90 countries in the first 24 hours.

Gdynia 2020 for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships

The local organising committee in the northern Polish city faced a series of pandemic related challenges throughout the year but never gave up on their dream of hosting a World Championship event, which they did on 17 October in what became the first and only World Athletics Championship held in 2020.

After a postponement from the original March date, the organisers continually adapted to the changing situation, working with World Athletics to design a thorough first-of-its-kind health and safety protocol for the event that ultimately attracted 225 athletes from 54 teams, the second-highest at these championships since the 1998 edition. Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya broke the world record for a women-only race while four championship records, two area records and 21 national records were also set.

The voting process

The winner will be decided by a public vote via the World Athletics Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media platforms. The combined number of votes from all three platforms will determine the winner. Voting opens on 9 November and closes at midnight on 15 November.

The winner will be announced at the World Athletics Awards 2020 to be held virtually on Saturday 5 December.

Which city is the sports capital of the world?

Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, is frequently chosen and acknowledged as the sporting capital of the world. Melbourne is second biggest city in Australia but were chosen the sporting capital of the decade in 2016. The people of Melbourne are actually sports crazy and it doesn’t matter just what the sport is, the crowds in the city turn out for it.

So why is Melbourne the sports capital and how did it get to be the sports capital? First of all, the city has a rich sporting history and culture. The city was established in 1835 and sport was a feature of city lifestyle right from then, with the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) being formed in 1838. The now prominent Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) opened in 1853. It’s still there and is now the premier sports arena in the country. Different kinds of football grew to become also popular in Melbourne’s formative years, in due course bringing about its own sport – Australian Rules Football, or ‘footy’ as it’s called by the local people. The very first Melbourne Cup horse race took place in 1861 and is still going. The initial Australian tennis championships took place in 1905 and is still held there. Melbourne put on the 1956 Olympics.

Community sports activity is really a considerable part of the the cities life style and involvement rates in the city are probably the highest globally. This is easily witnessed each and every weekend you will see just how prominent local community sporting activities is with people actively taking part and enjoying a variety of sporting activities for example cricket, tennis, footy, rugby, netball, basketball, baseball, golf as well as soccer. They play an important part of so many people’s community lives and health and fitness. When people in Melbourne aren’t playing sport, they are fans of viewing sport. The Australian Football League grand final draws 100 000 fans to the MCG. Rugby Union is not a well-known or a common sport in the city, but Melbourne stills hold the world record for the highest number of fans to go to see a game live!

Along with the 1956 Olympic Games, Melbourne continues to host world class sports entertainment. Every year, there is the F1 Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam, the Spring Horse racing Carnival, the MotoGP, the Boxing Day cricket international game along with the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. There are the major AFL, National Rugby League, or Australian A-League (soccer) matches on most weekends. There have recently been other major one-off events like the Commonwealth Games, the Cricket World Cup, World swimming championships and also Asian Cup soccer.

All of this is backed up by lots of first class sports stadiums including the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, Melbourne Park, Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, Hisense Arena, Etihad Stadium, Flemington Racecourse, State Netball and Hockey Centre, Margaret Court Arena and the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit and that is an infrastructure which is not close to being surpassed by any other location in the world. It is easy to see how and the reason why Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of the world and exactly why sports activity is such a part of the way of life around Australia.

Girls benefit from doing sports

Media release:

Girls – but not boys – who participate actively in school sports activities in middle childhood show improved behaviour and attentiveness in early adolescence, suggests a new Canadian study published in Preventative Medicine.

“Girls who do regular extracurricular sports between ages 6 and 10 show fewer symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age 12, compared to girls who seldom do,” said Linda Pagani, a professor at Université de Montréal’s School of Psychoeducation.

“Surprisingly, however, boys do not appear to gain any behavioural benefit from sustained involvement in sports during middle childhood,” said Pagani, who led the study co-authored by her students Marie-Josée Harbec and Geneviève Fortin and McGill University associate medical professor Tracie Barnett.

As the team prepared their research, “it was unclear to what extent organized physical activity is beneficial for children with ADHD symptoms,” recalled Pagani.

“Past studies have varied widely in quality, thus blurring the true association between sport and behavioural development.” She added: “On top of that, “past research has not acknowledged that boys and girls are different in how they present ADHD symptoms.”

A chance to get organized

ADHD harms children’s ability to process information and learn at school, Pagani explained. Sport helps young people develop life skills and supportive relationships with their peers and adults. It offers a chance to get organized under some form of adult influence or supervision.

“Thus, from a public-health perspective, extracurricular sport has the potential to be a positive, non-stigmatizing and engaging approach to promote psychological well-being and could thus be viewed as behaviour therapy for youth with ADHD,” Pagani said.

“Sports are especially beneficial if they begin in early childhood. And so, since using concentration and interpersonal skills are essential elements of sport, in our study we undertook to examine whether it would result in reductions in ADHD symptoms over the long term.”

Pagani and her team came to their conclusions after examining data from a Quebec cohort of children born in 1997 and 1998, part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development coordinated by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Parents of the 991 girls and 1,006 boys in the study reported on whether their sons and daughters were in an extracurricular physical activity that required a coach or instructor between ages 6 and 10. At age 12 years, teachers rated the children’s behaviour compared to their classmates. Pagani’s team then analyzed the data to identify any significant link between sustained participation and later ADHD symptoms, discarding many possible confounding factors.

“Our goal was to eliminate any pre-existing conditions of the children or families that could throw a different light on our results,” said Pagani.

‘Boys more impulsive’

Why do girls with ADHD benefit from sports, but not boys?

“In childhood, boys with ADHD are more impulsive and more motor-skilled than girls — as a result, boys are more likely to receive medication for their ADHD, so faster diagnosis and treatment for boys in middle childhood could diminish the detectable benefits of sport,” Pagani said. “They might be there; they’re just harder to tease out.”

“In girls, on the other hand, ADHD is more likely to go undetected — and girls’ difficulties may be even more tolerated at home and in school. Parents of boys, by contrast, might be more inclined to enroll them in sports and other physical activities to help them.”

She added: “We know that sporting activities have other numerous benefits for mental health of all children. However, for reducing ADHD symptoms, middle childhood sports in elementary school seem more noteworthy for girls.”

That’s why structured extracurricular activities that demand physical skill and effort under the supervision of a coach or instructor could be valuable to any official policy aimed at promoting behavioral development, the UdeM researchers maintain.

Concluded Pagani: “Sports activities in early childhood can help girls develop essential social skills that will be useful later and ultimately play a key role in their personal, financial and economic success.”

About this study

“Childhood exercise as medicine: extracurricular sport diminishes subsequent ADHD symptoms,” by Linda Pagani et al, with the help of Frédéric Nault-Brière, was published September 29, 2020 in Preventive Medicine. The work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanties Research Council of Canada and other funders. They include: the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon, Institut de la Statistique du Québec, Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur du Québec, Ministère de la Famille du Québec, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail, and the Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine.