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Five fundraising options for non-runners

Look, some people don’t like running. That is just a fact of life. Just as some people dislike peanut butter (somehow), there are those among us who would rather walk 100 miles than jog around the block.

When it comes to charity, running seems to be the fundraising option of choice. From marathons to 10k’s, it appears everyone is signing up for their charity. For non-runners who want to do a bit of good old fashioned fundraising, this can bring up a few questions: what if I can’t run it all? What if I’m last place? What if everyone is faster than me? The solution to the problem, however, is very simple: don’t do it. There are a plethora of fundraising events that are not running focussed and suit a multitude of interests. Here’s just a rundown (excuse the pun) of five such options.

Dance the Distance

Dancing Fundraising

A group of female participants taking part in dance the distance.

Fun factor: 9                                      Sweat score: 9             Move of choice: The running man

As a fairly new kid on the block, you may not have heard of Dance the Distance. Advertised as ‘More fun than a run’, it should spark your interest already. It’s the new event from EMD UK and launches as part of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life series. If you don’t fancy doing the regular 5/10km Race for Life, maybe Dance the Distance is your race.

Dance the Distance is a dance-fitness class, where attendees dance the equivalent steps of a 5km race. With moves ranging from street to disco to Bollywood and more, you’ll be hard pushed not to raise a smile or two. There’s a pretty awesome soundtrack too, belting out some classics. The bottom line is, there’s styles and songs to suit everyone. What’s more, there’s no running so what’s not to love? You don’t even really need to follow the moves accurately or stick to the beat; just move around and have fun! No first place, no last place, no lap times; just you having a boogie and raising some money for charity.

Be the first to try the brand new Race for Life Dance the Distance event at K2 Crawley on Sunday 17th September. Find out more here.

Pretty Muddy

Fun factor: 8                                          Mud mask: 10                     Laundry: never clean again

As you may have guessed by the name, your favourite workout leggings should probably stay in your wardrobe. Not to be confused with Tough Mudder, Pretty Muddy is another newbie in the Race for Life series, launching earlier this year. It’s an action-packed 5km pink obstacle course. Yep, it’s pink. From the hurdles to the water slides and every hump, jump and bump in between, the theme is pink.

Now, we’ll level with you here; there is teeny tiny element of running between the obstacles, but only if you want to. The only reason you would be running is because you’re so excited for the next obstacle (trust us, this is true. Having done Pretty Muddy in July, as a group of non-runners, we were surprised by how much running we actually did… and enjoyed).

You’ll traverse a wide range of genuinely fun and challenging obstacles, including muddy tunnels, muddy cargo nets, muddy water pools, muddy space hoppers; you see the theme yet? Your best trainers will not make the cut here. If you’re attached to any of your clothes and see you wearing them in the foreseeable future, leave them at home. Be prepared to finish looking like a spa day gone wrong.

Find out more about your upcoming mud bath here.

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

Fun factor: 7                                      Social side: 9                  Mouth full of: chocolate sponge

Combining the two food groups that offices enjoy the most, this event actively involves a whole lot of cuppas and even more cake. Held annually in September, workplaces around the UK take a break, have a laugh with each other and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The premise of the event is simple; set up a table, bring in a cake and munch away. Some offices (ours included) like to take this up a level and include a Bake Off element. From volcano cakes to bug bites, chilli cheese straws to gingerbread ballet dancers, we’ve seen it all. It’s also a great way to get to know colleagues you may not ordinarily get to talk to. Pro tip: we like to split into pairs and bake one sweet and one savoury recipe per duo. Sometimes we bake to a theme, whether that be sports, types of dance, time periods: the ‘futuristic’ couple had some questionable bakes. We add in a couple of prizes but that’s optional. The important thing is everyone donates. It fosters a bit of teamwork and allows the office to be swamped with cake, which can only be a good thing.

Find out more and get the kettle on here.

The London Marathon Walk

Fun factor: 8                          Breath of fresh air: 10         These boots were: made for walking

Release your inner tourist for a fraction of the price. Forget open top buses and Thames river cruises, the only way to really see the city is by foot. This 26 mile walk around the capital includes a stroll past some of London’s most historic areas. If the whole 26 is sounding like a stretch, don’t sweat it; there’s a handy 13 mile route available.

The walk starts with a hot drink and a breakfast bap; arguably the best way to start the day. Changing the route annually, the theme for this year is Cockney so expect to learn some lingo on the way round; your plates of meat will be tired after this! The route weaves through London’s rich history and passes some iconic features, including St-Mary-le-Bow; the heart of Cockney heritage. The usual suspects are also included on the walk, with Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bride, St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace all popping up. Bring your camera and hit full tourist mode.

This is an open challenge, meaning you can do this as a personal challenge or choose which charity you’d like to raise some cash for. To seal the deal, you also get a packed lunch and snack / water stops along the route. After all, you gotta eat calories to burn calories.

Find more ‘about this 26 mile ball of chalk (It’s Cockney, look it up!) here.

The Big Zipper

Fun factor: 9                                      Adrenaline rush: 12                         Feels like: Superman

If you’ve always fancied yourself as a bit of an adrenaline junkie, then you’ve met your perfect match. Meet The Big Zipper – the longest and fastest zip line in Europe. Suspended 500ft above a mountain lake in Bangor’s Penrhyn Quarry, you’ll be treated to some breath taking views as you hurtle across the landscape.

Now, when we say hurtle, we’re not messing around. Expect to reach the peak of adrenaline rush as you reach speeds of up to 100mph. You’ll be donned out in a very fetching red shell suit, like a sassy The Crystal Maze player, and taken through some various health and safety points. Hard hat, goggles and harnesses complete your outfit and off you walk to the launch site. Lying on your front, you’ll be propelled off the safety of the platform and into the unknown… well, the Welsh countryside. There are two zip lines side-by-side so you can partner up with your bestie and see who makes it down first.

Not feeling this height? We hear you; there’s a Little Zipper for anyone wanting to build up to its big brother. Or if you’re just content with the Little Zipper, that’s also fine.

Find more about your next natural high here.

Well, there we have it; a round-up of some events that you don’t need to be Mo Farah to enter. The important thing with any challenge is that you enjoy it and do it for a laugh. You can’t spell ‘fundraising’ without ‘fun’ so take the time to think about the activities you really want to try. Think it, book it, do it, and leave the running to everyone else.


How can group exercise instructors stand the test of time?

Our lovely Head of Instructor Development, Gillian Reeves, shares some advice on how group exercise instructors can keep up on top of new trends and continue to inspire and engage with their participants.


What’s the next big group ex trend? What’s going to be the next Zumba? These are questions I hear a lot, especially as the spotlight is shining so brightly on the group exercise arena right now and as so many health club operators and fitness businesses are keen to innovate to get the nation moving.

Could you have predicted 10 or 20 years ago that there would be so many branded class concepts covering all kind of styles from high intensity training like Sh1ft to dance fitness such as Flowetic to Anti Gravity Aerial Yoga? Could you have predicted that there would be so many stand-alone Group Cycle studios dividing the market into performance based, metric driven experiences to zero technology, theatrical, night club style events?

It’s clear that demand for exercise in groups is as strong as ever. People currently participating in classes know their Body Pump from their Body Combat, they are wearing the latest fitness technology and debate on the benefits and accuracy of a FitBit versus Myzone versus Garmin. Classes have evolved from 80s style, instructional based delivery, or have they? With savvy participants with high expectations, have we as instructors moved with the times too?

We are in a technology driven world where most people have their heads in a phone, tablet or computer for hours and hours during the day. Like it or not, technology has changed our behaviour and it has made it into the Group Exercise world too. Looking at the Group Cycle space alone, Cyclebeat studio in the City uses technology to display power output in real time on a big screen at the front of the studio. Virgin Active launched a bespoke, innovative concept, The Pack, last year gamifying the class where three teams compete with each other during various speed, cadence and power based challenges. David Lloyd has invested in a suite of technology driven cycle classes such as Les Mills Virtual RPM, Sufferfest and instructor lead concepts like Stages Flight and The Trip from Les Mills. Nuffield have recently launched NuCycle, a concept using ICG’s Coach by Colour, Digme Fitness in London uses sophisticated technology that combines information on riders displaying it during the class and storing it so that participants can track their progress and this is just a small list that is expanding wider than Cycle studios.

I taught a Yoga class recently at a health club and heard one of the voices of a well known presenter based abroad as I walked by the Cycle studio. The class was almost in a peak time slot and there were a bunch of members enjoying the class. Before the Yoga class I taught, the members told me that they tried out a virtual Yoga class at another branch and now go weekly to this session to be taught on screen by the wonderful Matt Miller, founder of Broga.


What does this mean for us as instructors and how do we move with the times to make sure that we are offering experiences that meet and exceed the expectations of the participants coming to us?

The intention with the questions that follow is to support you in your career as an instructor, to give you the opportunity to reflect and figure out which areas of your teaching delivery you could work on to maintain and build your career and ultimately compete with the experiences based around technology that you will be inevitably compared to by participants.

How often do you video yourself teaching and watch it back with the goal of noting what you do well and what you could improve on? Be really honest when watching it back without being too hard on yourself. All instructors have development areas and delivery that could be improved no matter how long they have been teaching or how experienced they are. Watch videos of teachers that have been taken on by companies who offer virtual or online content and notice what they do, what they say, how and when they give cues and coaching to be able to integrate this as best practice into your delivery. Better still, watch your video back with an experienced instructor or mentor to ask for their feedback.

How well do you know your anatomy and physiology? When was the last course or workshop you took that focused on this? Have you done any reading in this area in the last 6 months or even the last year? Knowing how the body is designed to move will give you the ability to coach more effectively during your class. When you take time to fully observe the people in the class, you will then be able to offer them assistance with more effective coaching as opposed to standard teaching points in order to support them achieving good alignment and exercising in the energy system to which you have mapped your class to for example. Coaching effectively will then in turn show in the results class participants get from your classes.

How many names of the people coming to your classes do you know? How much rapport have you got with all of the class participants and do you introduce yourself to newcomers the moment they step foot through the studio door? Better still, do you make eye contact whilst they are hovering outside looking in? Making connections that are sincere and genuine is likely one of the fundamental reasons you became an instructor; to uplift the lives of the people attending and serve them as best you can in their endeavours to move towards their goals. It’s all too easy to be rushing for class, to be late and to be tired, these things won’t happen in a virtual or online Group Exercise service (unless the computer breaks!). Now is a good time to step up our games, get really organised, ‘diarise’ professional development time and personal relaxation time to move forwards and be the best instructor you can be.



An update from our CEO on the General Data Protection Regulation

As part of our role we believe it is important to keep our members up to date with relevant national news as well as industry specific updates.

One of these ‘bigger picture’ announcements relates to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is a regulation designed to strengthen data protection for all individuals within the European Union. It applies to any organisation or person that processes the personal information of others and will be applicable from May next year. To see if it relates to you and /or to make sure you are prepared for it, please click here to read more from the Information Commissioners Office.

You may also have seen reports about the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in sports clubs in recent news bulletins. To help our members ensure that they are doing everything possible to protect these groups please click here to access EMD UK’s safeguarding policy, procedures and resources.

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