Run Geelong - a virtual race

Category: Personal, medical and clinical care

Barwon Health - Alan David Lodge, Grovedale, Vic

When two residents started to walk short distances after around three years of using wheel chairs, the idea was raised for residents to walk, cycle or roll the ‘Run Geelong’ race. Alan David Lodge registered a ‘virtual team’ in the community event that partners with Barwon Health to raise money for improved facilities at its main campus University Hospital Geelong and other sites.

28 residents registered for the event with 27 completing the 6 kms minimum. Clinical measures were taken pre-commencement and post completion of the virtual race – weight, falls rate and number of sit to stand completed in 30 seconds.

The team reviewed how each resident, irrespective of their current abilities, could both participate and achieve the 6kms race target. This involved ensuring that all residents had a way to participate by walking, rolling their wheelchair or using arm/foot pedals.

A week before the ‘race’, residents and staff made a balloon arch that would be used as the race starting point. A large scale map of the virtual Run Geelong route was placed on the wall and each participant was given a figure complete with a photo of their face that would move along the course map as they clocked up the metres.

The corridors were tagged with markers every 10 metres to allow residents/ staff and families to easily identify distances walked. A personal log was produced for each resident so they could document the distances completed.

Incentive treats along the way kept residents interested. Five landmarks that were on the race route were chosen and treats arranged such as a ride on the carousel. All participants are encouraged to participate with Run Geelong supplying merchandise and support with visits by Ambassadors.

The race finished with a closing celebration. Each participant was presented with a folder that depicted their progress through the virtual race.

The majority of  residents demonstrated improvement in the number of sit to stand completed in 30 seconds and in weight loss/maintenance. There was an increase in overall wellbeing and the energy of the race participants.

17 residents were able to use walking as their key exercise. Five residents were able to self-propel their wheelchair as their key exercise. Three residents used completing sit to stands as their key exercise with 1 sit to stand = 20 metres. Three residents solely used the arm cycles.

The majority of the resident’s demonstrated improvement in the number of sit to stand completed in 30 seconds and in weight loss/maintenance. There was no significant impact on the falls rate of the race participants. There was an increase in overall wellbeing and the energy of the race participants.

For more information on the program, contact Debbie Prestwich, email: debbiepr@barwonhealth.org.au, or phone: (03) 4215 6503.

www.barwonhealth.org.au