SU staff take on 5 km Wellness Fun Walk/Run 2013
The Stellenbosch University (SU) central campus was a hive of activity on Thursday 11 April when 239 SU staff members took part in the third annual 5km Wellness Fun Walk/Run, which has become a fixed item on the University’s Wellness Calendar.
Ms Maureen Kennedy, Manager: Employee Wellness, said apart from the aim of promoting a healthy lifestyle, Thursday’s event was also a reminder that events with a social aspect are positive attractions and wonderful for staff morale. “The enthusiasm was evident and there was definitely a good spirit of team building. We had staff from various departments and faculties entering as teams and coming here all decked out in team attire. We also saw an increase in participation of staff from our satellite campuses who made sure they got to the venue on time by arranging transport.”
Prof Julian Smith, Vice-Rector: Community Interaction and Personnel, welcomed all the participants at the start of the event. “Stellenbosch University takes the wellness of its staff and students very seriously. In order for us to do our job of teaching and learning, we need staff that are dynamic, fit and who lead a balanced lifestyle. Keep on walking, it is good for you and it’s wonderful to interact as colleagues in this way. I am so glad that we can build on this tradition of walking that we started a few years ago.”
Kennedy also told of a staff member who was initially sceptical about participating. “The last time she participated in a walk of this nature was 20 years ago and she was unsure if she would be able to cope, but she took on the challenge anyway and succeeded and now she’s inspired to start with walking as a fitness activity.” According to Kennedy, this is the message that she wants to get across – that anyone can enjoy walking and that it’s a good way to start exercising. “It is fun with a purpose.”
The department with the most entries for the Fun Walk/Run was the Library and Information Services – also the most enthusiastic group with great support for each other. Even the head of the Library Services, Senior Director Ms Ellen Tise, and Dr Reggie Raju, Director: Client Services, were part of the team. Andries Bester of the Department of Viticulture won the race and Khanita Rhode of SU’s Vehicle Fleet was the first woman to cross the finish line.
Chantel Newman from SU’s Finance Department said the Fun Walk/Run is a wonderful idea and she had loads of fun. “I entered because I want to stay fit and healthy. It is nice to get out of the office for a while and do something like this with colleagues. I will definitely enter again next year, but it would be nice if we could do this on a more regular basis.”
According to Kennedy, this annual event should not be viewed as a once-off. “This is only a reminder of the importance of physical activity as one of the requirements for a healthy lifestyle, which should be an integral part of daily living. Staff is encouraged to sustain this type of activity by joining the walking programme which is offered on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.”
Kennedy previously said there are plans to make the Fun Run/Walk an even bigger event each year. “We want to expand and get more staff members and students to participate. Next year we want participants to enter with their families, so that we can spread the message of living a healthy lifestyle to the rest of the community.” Another future plan is also to include a 10km route. “It will inspire beginners to get fitter so that they can walk or run the longer route.”
- For more information about the walking programme, please contact Maureen Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 808 4824 or Michelle Jooste at email@example.com or 021 808 2755.