Sacred Heart College year 11 student Baylee Sharp won the school's virtual marathon.

Virtual competitions a success for students

Published on Tuesday, 26 May 2020, 10:54 a.m. Print Article

A virtual marathon organised to keep Sacred Heart College students active and motivated during lockdown was won by a novice runner.

Having only started running three days prior, Baylee Sharp was surprised to have not only taken out the Intermediate age group for the run with a time of 14.55, but to have come first place overall.

“I usually hate running but prior to the marathon I decided that I was going to run every morning,” the 16-year-old said.

Over the weekend of May 8-10, more than 20 students participated in the virtual event held with the help of Triathlon Hawke’s Bay.

Junior girl Amelia Murphy came second place overall with a time of 14.56 and Lucia Urquhart finished in 15.12 seconds to come third.

Head of PE, Kate O’Malley said they were fortunate to have Triathlon Hawke’s Bay General Manager Bruce Richardson supporting them with the software needed to facilitate the run.

Students chose the route they wanted, tracked their run and then uploaded their results to the Trident website, which Tri HB uses.

Realising there was a gap in the market where people couldn’t do events due to Covid-19, and having set up their own virtual events series, Richardson said he had the idea to help the school, when he saw his daughter Sophie, who attends Sacred Heart College doing a virtual house challenge.

He said it had worked “really well” for Sacred Heart College and was a great opportunity for schools.
While it took a “bit of work” at the back of the software, Richardson said it was a very easy platform for the user to work. They are now also looking at developing an App.

“We realised that not only Sacred Heart but lots of other schools are in the same situation where Covid-19 is making life a bit hard. Going forward, he hopes to see it developed for more schools to create opportunities for students to be active.

“The opportunities are endless. You can do everything from snowboarding, swimming cross country, cycling running multisport, triathlon, it doesn’t matter what it is I can set it up in the background and make it work for the school.”

The idea by the school was born out of a virtual house fitness challenge which was held for three weeks, finishing on May 17. Sports Leader, and year 13 student, Abby Bell said she got inspiration from other schools who had done running challenges and wanted to do something similar.

“I thought we could incorporate walking, running and biking, so it would be more diverse for the school to get everyone out and moving,” she said. 

Both staff and students got on board with the challenge, with some going out every day. Abby said popular spots included the beachfront at Bayview, Pandora Pond, and Bluff Hill.

Using the free fitness app called Strava, participants recorded their exercise and Abby then added the total amount of kilometers for each house. Abby says she was “surprised” by how many people got involved.

In the end, Holderness won with a total tally of 748.89km, just 23km ahead of second-place Barbier at 725.27km. Marian house came third with 313.85 and Aubert came fourth with 227.52km.

With no sports being held due to Covid-19 restrictions, O’Malley said they “needed something that the girls could still be involved in as a school”. The house challenge proved to be a way to get students to understand how they can track their exercise.

“Quite a lot of girls got involved and it gave them a sense of motivation to get out and be active and support their house,” Ms O’Malley said.