After the 7th edition was cancelled due to the pandemic, the 8th edition of the Health+ Solidarity Race organized by the Students Association of the Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon (AEFML), which aims to combine health and physical exercise with 100% solidarity, is back. This year, the competition had hundreds of participants from different regions of the country and even abroad, which previously did not happen because it was held only in Lisbon,.
All profits obtained will be donated to 4 institutions: AFUA, Casa da Sopa Association, iMM-Laço Fund and Raízes.
It is a race that brings together, every year, athletes, regular sportspersons and marathoners, and also university students, doctors and families who choose to participate in order to help those who need it most.
Due to the pandemic and to ensure the health of all participants, this year's edition took place in a virtual format and included 3 different events: 5 km, 10 km and 15 km, to be done on foot or running.
The events were mapped and timed using the Runkeeper application, allowing participants to choose the place and the date when they intended to do one of the events, at the time that was most convenient to them. Through the platform, it was also possible to make extra donations, fundraise, create a team and offer someone the registration. All events had a single price of 6 €.
The Health+ Solidarity Race took place between 23 April and 2 May 2021.
What is the main objective of this initiative?
We believe that the main goal of the Health+ Solidarity Race is to foster the perfect alliance between sports and solidarity. The Health+ Solidarity Race has always been a project with a 100% solidarity nature, which in itself is a strong argument to bring more athletes to our races and even some people with sedentary lifestyle habits. This is, without a doubt, our biggest goal!
How has aid been distributed among the institutions?
All profit obtained through the registration of participants is donated to partner institutions.
In previous editions, each athlete had the possibility to donate 20% of the registration fee to one of the four partner IPSS and an extra amount that would be equally distributed among the four IPSS.
This year, for the first time, the possibility arose for participants to directly donate an amount of their choice to one of the four IPSS, adding this amount to the registration fee.
The lockdown stopped the practice of physical exercise. What is the importance of continuing to practice under conditions other than those we were used to?
The practice of physical exercise, now more than ever, remains one of the best weapons to fight the anxiety that we have been experiencing in this last year of the pandemic. The closure of many spaces dedicated to the practice of physical activity has led some sportspersons to look for new ways to stay active. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is undoubtedly one of the most important ways to keep our physical and mental well-being, whether it is our sport of choice or whether we try something new.
What exercises should be done daily to maintain good physical condition?
Maintaining a good physical condition involves a lifestyle in which, daily, we make choices that meet our goals.
Sometimes it is enough to turn a day-to-day practice, which is just very busy, into something more active. Choosing the stairs instead of the lift, preferring to leave the car farther away or exiting at the previous stop in order to be able to walk to the workplace are small tips that we can implement daily in our daily life and help maintaining a good physical condition and consequently, a healthier life.
How can we continue to exercise at home without losing motivation?
It is quite common for inertia to prevail when we talk about physical exercise at home. However, there are small tips that can help make a workout at home as or more intense and interesting than any workout with friends in a gym. Nowadays, the internet has infinite resources so that we don't have to waste time thinking about what part of the body we are going to exercise today or what kind of exercises to do. So, with a planned workout, it will be less difficult to start! Over the past year, an increasing number of online initiatives have come to light. Without a doubt, they are a great tool to shorten the distance and, at the same time, enable exercising with company and safely. It may seem difficult, but the difficult thing is just getting started!
How was it to turn the organization of a collective practice event into one where each person participates individually?
Since the beginning, when we started to think about how to adapt the project this year, that was one of the first questions that came to mind. Although many people like to do sport individually, the truth is that the Health+ Solidarity Race has always stood out for being a collective event in which everyone is competing and/or running for the common good, making it special in some way.
Bearing in mind the pandemic, making the event as safe as possible was one of our biggest challenges, so we found a solution that balanced these two aspects: safety and a race as similar as possible to the original one.
Thus, the idea of creating a virtual race arose, in which it would be possible to maintain the competitive part of the race with the attribution of prizes on the corresponding podiums, the delivery of a participant kit to all those registered, donations to the IPSS, and allowing people from the same household or acquaintances, to run together complying with the DGS norms, or run in different parts of the country, but virtually connected through the creation of teams.
What was the main challenge in organizing this year's event?
The 8th Edition was, without a doubt, a great challenge for the whole team. In previous years, the event had a large face-to-face component that we believe to be one of the stimuli that most mobilized our athletes to participate in the different events. It was a full day of sharing and conviviality. This year, given the conditions known to all, adaptation was inevitable and being in the era of new technologies, we used this capacity in our favour to create the 8th Health+ Solidarity Race that we believe will inevitably be different, but equally unforgettable.
How can people participate in this initiative?
To participate in the Health+ Solidarity Race, people just accessed our Registration Platform through this link: https://raceroster.com/events/2021/46156/corrida-saudesolidaria
We have 3 different events: 5 km, 10 km and 15 km, which can be done by walking or running. All events are mapped and timed through the Runkeeper application, allowing participants to choose the place and the date when they want to participate in one of the events, at the time that is most convenient to them.
Through the platform, it is also possible to make extra donations, fundraise, create a team and offer someone the registration. All tests have a single price of 6€, which can be paid by Debit Card (VISA or MasterCard), Credit Card or MB NET Virtual Card (MBWay).
How many participants did you expect this year compared to previous years?
In other editions it was always possible to have an idea of the number of expected participants based on information from previous events, as the patterns were always very similar.
This year, as the format of the race has become virtual and we are faced with pandemic conditions that did not exist before, it was more difficult to predict an exact number of participants and how the registrations would go.
At first glance, a decrease in the number of participants would be expected due to the loss of the face-to-face and socializing component. However, we ended up having hundreds of participants from different parts of the country (which previously did not happen because it only took place in Lisbon) and even abroad, from countries like Brazil, Austria, United Kingdom, Georgia and Denmark, something that had never happened. Despite all the setbacks, we have had a lot of support, which makes us very happy and gives us a feeling of accomplishment in keeping the two great pillars of the Health+ Solidarity Race alive: health and solidarity.