Skip to main content

Colleges complete Go the Distance Challenge

14 July 2020

More than 160,000 miles were run, walked and cycled over the last four weeks as part of AoC Sport’s inclusive Go The Distance Challenge. The challenge saw more than 3,500 staff and students from 70 colleges across the country record their runs, walks or bike rides on the Strava app to support their college’s efforts to reach the targets set. The running or walking challenge was to go 456 miles- the equivalent distance from our most Southern member (Truro and Penwith College) to our most Northern member (Northumberland College), or to cycle 3,369 miles – the equivalent distance to visit each of our 212 member colleges. Over the course of a month participants collectively completed 24,264 activities and covered 68,243 miles on foot by running or walking, and cycled 97,954 miles - a combined total which could circumnavigate the world over six times! Congratulations to Lincoln College who recorded the most activities in both the run/walk (1,352) and cycling challenge (445) as well as engaging the most participants in the cycling challenge (61). Adrian Short from Lincoln College said the challenge had been a phenomenal success. "All the competitors have engaged in such a positive way, going out in all weathers to support the challenge along with increasing both their physical and mental health. "Thank you, AoC Sport, for developing this challenge and for the regular leaderboard updates that kept us all motivated in representing our college over the four weeks.” Congratulations also to Wyke Sixth Form College who engaged the most participants in the run/walk challenge (148). In total 10 colleges went the distance in the cycling challenge and 44 colleges went the distance in the run/walk challenge, each of whom were entered into a regional prize draw to win a Garmin 45s Smartwatch.


Staff and student feedback

David Hardwick, Health, Wellbeing and Sport Coordinator at City of Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College, said the flexibility of the challenge encouraged inactive staff and students to take part. "The challenge has had a really positive effect on the activity levels of both staff and students at the college. Staff and students who are not normally active have been getting involved and a number of people have been going for lunchtime walks in order to boost the college mile count. "It’s certainly got people talking and motivated people to do more activity as people can go when they want and at their own pace.” Myles Campbell, a level 3 BTEC Sport student at Blackburn College, disliked running at first but grew to enjoy it during the challenge. He said: "The AoC Sport running and cycling challenge has pushed me to be more active in my spare time and gain new hobbies. Usually I hate running but I love challenges so I came out of my comfort zone and used the Strava app to participate and now I’m enjoying running regularly.” Tara Wheatley, a visually impaired student at the Royal National College for the Blind, enjoyed the motivation of seeing others doing exercise on a daily basis. She said: "I really enjoyed logging my sessions in Strava and being able to track my running in detail especially as I was preparing for the London Marathon this year. "It has increased my motivation from home seeing peers keeping active everyday. Thanks to Dylan for showing me the best way to use Strava and making it really accessible for someone who is visually impaired.” Ben Deacon, Lecturer in Sport & Football Academy Head Coach at Wiltshire College, said it gave the opportunity to engage students and staff from all courses and campuses in physical activity to feel part of a team, regardless of their ability or previous experience, whilst maintaining social distancing measures. Paul Hinshelwood, Lecturer in Sport at Chichester College added that the challenge gave a sense of community to the college. "We found that the challenge really motivated our students and staff during such an uncertain time. We've seen staff and students from all areas of the college getting involved - from media to hospitality. It's been great to see how it's brought our college community together by getting active. We're really proud of our achievements.” Karla Hacking from Blackburn College said: "I absolutely loved the challenge as it made me start running and cycling again and I managed to achieve some big distances. It’s really helped with my mental health especially during Covid." The final leaderboards can be found here.