Take on the 10,000 step Marchathon at IT Sligo

Students at IT Sligo Marchathon Launch

At the recent launch of the Healthy Campus initiative at IT Sligo three 4th year Public Health and Health Promotion students have announced their national step challenge campaign in the college in line with Smarter Travel.

The Marchathon is the annual Smarter Travel Campus Walking Challenge that runs in the month of March each year. It encourages students and staff to get into teams of 3-6 people and to walk to campus and throughout the day. It’s a fun event in which participants can win prizes, get fitter and use their feet as a sustainable form of transport.

Steps are simply measured with the use of the SmarterTravel app. The Marchathon was launched on the 26th of February and it will continue until Friday 23rd of March.

Tara Reilly from Monaghan and Andrew Dodd & Sonia Mc Dermott  from Sligo are excited to finally get the chance to put all their knowledge and skills they have learnt on their educational journey into this novel initiative. They have high hopes that the participants in the Marchathon challenge will reach the recommended 10,000 steps or more daily. Walking is an excellent form of physical activity that can help with reduction of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and it is also a great way to reduce stress and depression.

On Valentine’s Day the group led the “Love Life Love Walking” activity at IT Sligo, which was co-ordinated by the HSE and it was a great success with over 100 students and staff participating.

At the recent launch of the Project Ireland 2040, the Marchathon project received support and interest from various Ministers such as Shane Ross and  Heather Humphreys. The Minister for Health Simon Harris said that it “sounds like a great initiative to get students up and moving.”

They also received great support from the President of IT Students’ Union Barry Ó Clochasaigh who has said that “The Marchathon is a fantastic way to get students and staff up and active while adding an element of competition. I’m really looking forward to seeing how my team gets on, on the leader board.”

The Students held a competition during the launch of the Marchathon to encourage participants to sign up. We asked the question: “How many steps does it take Barry to walk from the main entrance of the College to the main canteen?” The winner received a Marchathon goodie bag.

Throughout the challenge there will be various events running during the month of March to promote a healthy campus in the college, enabling students and staff to increase their steps. Various events that will be run out are ”less stress more steps”, such as SligOlympics, Easter egg hunt and colour walk/run, plus various walking events.

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD with students at the Marchathon launch

The color walk/run will be held at IT Sligo on the 14th of March @ 4.30pm The walk will take place along the Slí na Slainte route and around the track in IT Sligo. The colour walk/run is not only   to encourage people to get their steps up but to raise awareness and fundraise money towards Mental Health. The colors that will be used will represent the five ways towards wellbeing. All money raised will go to Sligo Mental Health and Wellbeing Association.

On the 8th of March @ 5pm join the IT Sligo students and the Tree Council of Ireland for a guided walk with Michael Bell of Nature Learn, at Hazelwood Forest. It will be a fun and educational nature walk that is suitable to all fitness levels where you can go and immerse yourself in all that Hazelwood has to offer.

The 4th year students are delighted to be working in conjunction with Smarter Travel, Institute of Technology Sligo, Health and Safety Officer (Yvonne Roache) , Student Union , SligoWalks.ie , SligOlympics (Áine Breen & Jackie Conaty) , Colour run/walk (Jack De Lacy & Eoin Higgins) and 3rd Year Students from Tourism and Events Management.

They have also got great support from local businesses such as ROM, Sligo Park Hotel, EJ Menswear, Inglot, The Swagman, Raw Health Sligo and Sweet Beat Café who have kindly donated sponsorship prizes.

“Let’s step up to challenge and reach those 10,000 steps” – Andrew, Tara & Sonia

Follow their journey on Facebook – IT Sligo Marchathon 2018

Twitter – Marchathon IT Sligo 2018

For further information check out smarter travel website @ https://www.smartertravelworkplaces.ie/step-challenge/what-is-the-step-challenge/