Ahead of Sydney's most iconic race – the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival – Blackmores has announced its partnership with Special Olympics Australia to celebrate and recognise all Australians, and inspire individuals from all walks of life to get active.
The partnership between Blackmores and Special Olympics Australia aims to celebrate diversity and inclusion, by introducing these inspirational athletes to the Blackmores trainer and influencer squad, to help break down stigma in today's society and to inspire all Australians to get on board.
The partnership highlights how many Australians overcome barriers that may be stopping them from exercising by encouraging everyone to move in some shape or form, even if it's just more regularly than normal.
"We are honoured to announce our partnership with Special Olympics Australia, ahead of the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. Enriching the lives of Australians and helping to guide them on their wellbeing journey – no matter the obstacles they may face – is at the heart of Blackmores' philosophy," said Richard Henfrey, CEO, Blackmores.
"We feel passionately about the importance of diversity and inclusion and we believe there is a perfect fit with Special Olympics Australia, who are at the forefront of breaking down the stigma that still exists. Like Blackmores, Special Olympics is also committed to encouraging Australians to get involved in sport and to highlight the importance of keeping active. So it's a perfect cause for us to champion together," said Henfrey.
Today, there are approximately 668,000 Australians living with intellectual disabilities and only 3,000 athletes are involved with Special Olympics Australia1. More than half of those living with intellectual disabilities are high functioning individuals who are more than capable of success in sporting events and in the workplace.
With Blackmores sponsoring the Running Festival for 15 years, the event will see more than 33,000 entrants run among Sydney's most scenic landmarks and across the world famous Harbour Bridge, on Sunday 16 September 2018.
To prepare for the main event, Blackmores will be hosting several training days throughout August, which will be facilitated and led by Special Olympics Australia athletes. Special Olympics Australia members will also play a key role on the day of the event, hosting at the Blackmores Recovery Village, firing the start-line gun to kick-start one of the main races and leading the motivation groups there to encourage and support people completing the race.
In addition, Blackmores and the Special Olympic athletes will be hosting a dedicated awards ceremony following the race, recognising those who have overcome their own barriers in order to complete the run.
"Special Olympics Australia is helping to change the lives of Australians living with an intellectual disability. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics and through those years we have helped to ensure these individuals are not excluded from society. Today's announcement of our partnership with Blackmores is helping to take this a step further – enabling our athletes, volunteers and coaches to be part of a city-wide event and move with the nation. The joy it brings to our participants is priceless, and we are delighted to be part of such a positive partnership," said Corene Strauss, Special Olympics Australia CEO.
The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival consists of four events:
Blackmores Family Fun Run/Walk (approx 3.5km)
Blackmores Bridge Run (10km)
Blackmores Half Marathon (21km)
Blackmores Sydney Marathon (42.2km)
Be sure to register for the run that's fun for everyone at https://www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au/ - The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival taking place on Sunday 16 September 2018.
For more information on the Special Olympics Australia and how you can support, visit Special Olympics Australia
Question: What is the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival?
Dr Jason Kaplan: The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is one of the largest running festivals in Australia and the only event which closes the Harbour Bridge for foot traffic in any given year. The Festival aims to quite literally 'Move the Nation', providing an opportunity for runners of all ages, stages and abilities to be part of a unique running event that takes in some of Sydney's famous and spectacular scenery. Most importantly, the 2018 festival provides another chance to show Australians that barriers don't have to stop anyone from exercising, as participants can walk or run, whatever suits their capabilities. To support this message and to encourage all Australians to get moving, Blackmores has partnered with Special Olympics Australia for the 2018 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, to illustrate that no barrier is too high to get in the mood to move.
Question: How do you hope to inspire individuals from all walks of life to get active?
Dr Jason Kaplan: I do my best to provide education and enough compelling reasons for individuals to get more active to improve their heart health and show them that physical activity is associated with increased vitality and longevity at any age. I am excited to be participating in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival with my family.
Question: What are the benefits associated with regular physical activity?
Dr Jason Kaplan: Physical activity has many benefits for our health. Amongst other things, it supports heart health, helps manage inflammation, and supports our brain health by influencing mood and cognitive function. Outwardly, it can improve our physical appearance and to help us lose weight too. If practiced regularly, it allows our body to keep supporting us well into our older years.
Question: What five ways will running change our lives?
Dr Jason Kaplan: 1. As a form of cardio exercise that's easily accessible, running is one of the most straightforward ways to get the important benefits of exercise. It is a great way to help improve cardiovascular health.
2. Running helps you lose or maintain weight. You not only burns calories while you're running, but the burn continues after you stop. And you don't have to be sprinting to get this benefit. It happens when you're exercising at an intensity that's about 70 percent of VO2 max. (That's a little faster than your easy pace and a little slower than marathon pace.)
3. Running makes you happier by releasing feel-good hormones, and it has been shown to help people sleep better and boost their ability to focus.
4. Contrary to what people may think, running actually seems to improve knee health when practiced safely and technique is correct. If a person experiences knee pain from running, it is most likely to be from overtraining, poor form or a lack or flexibility.
5. Some research shows that people who run tend to live longer.
Question: What mental benefits does regular physical activity have?
Dr Jason Kaplan: The mental benefits of physical activity are as compelling as the physical ones. Increased resilience, stress reduction, improved cognitive function; better sleep and improved mood are just some of the mental benefits that people performing regular physical activity describe.
Question: How can we make health count, every day?
Dr Jason Kaplan: I like to tell patients that it is in the ordinary that the extra-ordinary happens and to think about small changes every day that compound into significant gains down the track. I try to get my patients to be conscious of the day-to-day choices they make for their health, from the food they eat, to the exercise they do – both incidental and scheduled, to the mental health practices they participate in.
Question: What health rituals do you practice, daily?
Dr Jason Kaplan: I wear a fitness watch and make sure I get my minimum of 10,000 steps a day, even on a day that I am not exercising. Usually at the end of a day I will do a gentle yoga sequence to unwind physically from the day and to relax my mind. I talk to my patients daily about diet and lifestyle to help treat heart disease and do my best to practice the same things daily, including eating a plant-based whole food diet.
For more information visit run.blackmores.com.au
Interview by Brooke Hunter