This month I got rid of the Lboro imposter syndrome and I ran (rather, crawled) a half-marathon. But don’t worry, it’s not quite a requirement to graduate!
A large part of March in my student ambassador job was spent talking to lovely prospective students all worried about the same thing, whether they will ‘fit in’ if they don’t like sports. So, let me start with a famous phrase – you don’t need to do sports to go to Loughborough…. Yes, you REALLY don’t have to do sports. It’s true, there are too many other activities to get involved with that don’t require a bead of sweat!
However, don’t blame me if you inevitably get pulled into a friendly dodgeball or beach volleyball game (yes, we have a free Beach Park), which is the perfect alternative to studying for your June exams! I speak from experience 🙂
Before university, I was reasonably active and even skated on the Czech national synchronised ice skating team as a junior, which seemed to be a sufficient achievement! Yet Loughborough turned out to be a completely different animal.
The collective level of sports is unparalleled, from the high-end facilities and research to the engagement with the general student body. The number of elite athletes that the university produces can be seen on the Loughborough Sport website, and you will definitely end up meeting many a successful sportsperson during your time here – it’s in the water we proverbially walk on*.
Yet my biggest admiration for Loughborough comes from the opportunities that Loughborough provides for those who aren’t as focused on the shiny medals. At the start of the year, there is a wonderful AU sports bazaar, where you can find out about starting a sport as a beginner or continuing one you pursue already. In my second year, I joined the Ultimate Frisbee team, which was an incredible addition to my university experience and an entirely different blog post…!
Would you just like to get fit? Make use of your massive student discount at the two campus gyms, which include unlimited access to fitness classes and the Olympic-size swimming pool!
Interested in trying new sports? Check out the free MyLifestyle classes. They are absolutely amazing, as they are student-led and you will often get taught by a future world champ, or as in the case of the Kickboxing class I went to, my friend the four-time national university heavyweight champion.
Finally, there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to get involved in sports AT ALL. You will be kept blissfully busy with all of the societies that the Students Union runs, volunteering and other activities we have on campus. DON’T WORRY, those eight Student Experience awards don’t come from nowhere!
Now finally about this running deal, I mentioned. This New Year’s Day (January 1st, 2018) I decided that I’d had enough of liking others’ proud Instagram photos of sporting achievements and signed up to the Prague half-marathon. Yes, that 21km run that actual marathoners do for practice. In the Loughborough bubble you hear about people running marathons and Ironman races on a daily basis, how hard could it be?
Apparently pretty hard, said my body, as it tried to remember how long a 5K was after a year or so of no running… Thankfully, soon after it managed to pull itself together and proceeded to complain about training for another 3 months under the guidance of my incredibly sporty friends, multiple astonishingly awesome members of staff and the internet. I would sing praise to myself for the many early morning runs, but honestly, there weren’t any. In fact, there weren’t many runs at all, which I dully regret…… Ha! You wish! There were lots and lots of runs and I even think I’ve been tricked into almost enjoying it now!
It paid off in the end and I endured the 21km last week in Prague, where my family lives. It was a surreal experience, with thousands of spectators and 12,000 runners filling the streets and cheering on. I would definitely recommend the couch-to-21km journey to anybody, as I’ve hobbled away a significantly stronger person than before.
As for running in Loughborough, there is a weekly running club associated with Loughborough Sport, a fantastic Triathlon AU club, which many of my friends are part of, many charity runs to get involved with and a Map-My-Run community to help you discover new routes and picturesque areas.
*“Lufbra walk on water!” is a chant every fresher has learns within 3 minutes of being on campus and recites every day at sunrise.
Honourable mentions of other ways to get active in Loughborough:
- CVA: there are many opportunities to get involved as a referee, coach or volunteer if you’re not able to play yourself.
- Hall sports and society one-day events, such as dodgeball and volleyball.
- MyLifestyle events, such as FitFest and similar.
- Think outside the box with Loughborough Societies – belly dance, pole fitness or even gardening will get your heart pumping 🙂