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Short sprint in the long game of growing physical activity

Short sprint in the long game of growing physical activity

Published:11 January 2018

Prof Corneel Vandelanotte, pictured walking with baby Linus, will take part in the Queen's Baton Relay ahead of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

It’s probably the shortest distance the physical activity enthusiast will ever run – but CQUniversity’s Professor Corneel Vandelanotte is pumped to be playing a 200m role in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The leader of CQUni’s world-famous 10,000 Steps Project is taking part in the Queen’s Baton Relay, on its 388-day, one-million-step journey through all nations and territories of the Commonwealth ahead of the Gold Coast event.

“I’m really excited, because the Commonwealth Games are such a big event for Queensland – and since I don’t spend a lot of time watching sport on TV, it’s actually very nice to actively participate in some sort of way!” he said.

A Professorial Research Fellow with CQUni’s School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Prof Vandelanotte is one of 37 runners set to carry the Baton in Rockhampton – but it’s not his only involvement in GC2018.

CQUni has partnered with Embracing 2018 and GC2018 to let everyone put their best foot forward for the Games, with a virtual 10,000 Steps Walking Tournament.

Ahead of the Games, on the Gold Coast from 4 – 15 April 2018, the GC2018-themed challenge encourages people to put on their activity trackers to monitor and increase their daily physical activity.

Teams of participants can track their virtual steps between the event cities of Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, and to host city the Gold Coast, with a total of 2,246,726 steps (1797 km) required to complete the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Venues Tournament.

Prof Vandelanotte said nearly 70 organisations had completed the Tournament, with more than 1700 users registered, and a total of 416,745,720 million steps recorded on the website.

“It’s had great participation, and as we get closer to the April we’re expecting a lot more people to get involved – you don’t have to be professional athlete, it’s a great opportunity for everybody!” he said.

Prof Vandelanotte has previously completed the Gold Coast Marathon, and has also run the Six-Foot Track in the Blue Mountains – a gruelling 45km along steep bush tracks.

But he says extreme feats – like Commonwealth Games events – aren’t great at inspiring most people to get off the couch and get fit.

“While governments invest a lot of money in elite sports, the research shows this usually doesn’t translate to increased physical activity across the population,” he said.

“That’s why it’s so important to have ways for everyone to get involved – the 10,000 Steps Project works because walking is something everyone can do!”

To register and participate in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Venues Tournament visit www.10000steps.org.au, and to find out more information about other GC2018 Legacy Projects visit www.embracing2018.com.

To be part of welcoming the Queen’s Baton to Rockhampton, visit www.gc2018.com/qbr, or head to the community celebration on Friday 23 March, from 5.30pm at Alf Kele Memorial Park.