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Byron Shire
May 31, 2024

A virtual Gold Coast Marathon at your place

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SCU Osteopathy student Douw van Vuuren in training for the Gold Coast Marathon. Photo supplied.

Ever wanted to run the Gold Coast Marathon but just didn’t have the time of the budget to get there?

Well, for the very first time a virtual Gold Coast Marathon and Southern Cross University 10km Run will give participants around the globe the opportunity to hit the pavement in their home towns.

While the 2020 event was originally scheduled for last weekend (4-5 July), COVID restrictions have led to an innovative new online format where runners can participate in the Marathon and 10km Run throughout the month of July using the official app ASICS Runkeeper.

Course Coordinator of Southern Cross University’s Bachelor of Exercise Science and Psychological Science, Dr Chris Stevens, said taking exercise online was an important way for athletes to stay connected.

Exercisers taking their training online

‘The move reflects a trend for exercisers to take their training online to stay in regular contact and remain competitive with their training partners even while restrictions prevent group running and riding,’ he said.

Runners and cyclists training at home have been using software such as Zwift, which allows them to train and compete with others online. Not only can they exercise with their friends, users can even join and interact with professional athletes as they train. Tracking apps such as Strava uses GPS technology and can be shared with friends online. Strava also allows users to set their own courses and race against others exercising on the same course in their local community.

‘These technologies keep exercise social and fun, which is important for motivation in a time without group training sessions and events, and the closure of gyms and pools. We know that social support is very important to staying engaged with exercise long term,’ said Dr Stevens.

Got a question about running, how to stay motivated, what to eat to maximise performance or the right shoes to wear?
Ask a Southern Cross University health and exercise expert.

Poor access to physical activity and mental health

The United Nations recently released a statement describing how poor access to physical activity and exercise can have negative effects on mental health, which can magnify stress and anxiety that many will experience with isolation from normal social life.

Dr Stevens said it was important for exercise scientists and psychologists to work together to maximise the benefits for their clients, especially in the current climate.

‘This is why Southern Cross University will be offering a combined Bachelor degree in Exercise Science and Psychological Science at all three of our campuses at Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour from 2021,’ he said.

Due to COVID disruptions Southern Cross University is also offering reduced-cost government-backed short courses for Australian citizens for Session 2 study beginning in July, including the Undergraduate Certificate in Sport and Exercise Science.

The 11 new undergraduate certificate and two new graduate certificate short courses are all 12-weeks long, made up of four units of full-time online study, and can be fully credited towards starting a degree.

For more information on how to apply visit scu.edu.au/short-courses.


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