Oldham Sixth Form Students compete in a 26-hour marathon of sporting action to raise money for charity.
Thursday morning’s opening ceremony, for over 60 students and Staff at Oldham Sixth Form College, marked the start of a 26.2-hour sports marathon taking place across a number of our sports facilities, helping to raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK.
The Oldham Sixth Form Olympathon is the largest annual college fundraising event of the year, with over £16,000 raised for good causes during the last 6 years. Students who are lucky enough to be selected from a popular application process compete in a mix of traditional sports such as athletics, football and rugby, alongside sports from other cultures including kabaddi, Boccia and Danish longball.
This year ‘olymp-athletes’ were split into 6 groups, all representing one of the world’s great continents. The likes of Asia, South America and Europe battled it out for 25 hour-long sports sessions following the opening ceremony, where teams entered the arena with their newly designed nation flag waving to the on looking crowds, swearing in the Olympic oath under the watchful eye of David Jackson, PE tutor and co-ordinator of the colleges Duke of Edinburgh award. The teams also competed in a number of Paralympic sports, building on the spirit of London 2012 and developing an understanding of what it’s like to take part in sports with a life limiting disability. Tutor, David Jackson, known more affectionately as ‘Jacko’ to students who were taking part in the all night event was anticipating a spirited effort.
“For some students this will be a chance to test themselves, for others it’ll be about having fun and keeping spirits high. There’s a real challenge on offer for sports students at Oldham Sixth Form College, and they always respond well.” Asked when would most students ‘hit the wall’ during the 26.2 hour period Jacko says “we let no one fail. We’re a team at Oldham Sixth Form and we keep each other going. At 3 or 4 am when people start getting tired towards the 18 hour mark that’s when we come together, we pick each other up and keep going.”
Adam Smith, sports tutor and the college’s lead coordinator for the Duke of Edinburgh award is proud of yet another successful event,
“Olympathon 6 was our most ambitious one yet, with staff invented sports and a clothing donation added to the regular activities. Every year the event has grown and our students take a huge amount of confidence and skills from taking part.”
The event showcases the incredible efforts that staff within the sports department strive towards, ensuring every student studying PE at Oldham Sixth Form College has an experience to remember.
“Part of the challenge for us as tutors is to ensure that students can reach their potential in a safe, friendly and close-knit environment. Our year 13’s support the year 12’s as if they are family and it’s this attitude the current first year students bring back in September, ready to support a new cohort of school leavers.”
Luke Molloy, 17, a second year CAMTEC sports student is taking part for the second year running and will be representing South America. Luke says he has enjoyed the challenge.
“Last year I loved every minute of Olympathon and this year has been no different. I’m ready to go again now! I’d do it every year if I could, I’m just one of those people that never gets tired.”
Lucy Tootill, 18, another second year CAMTEC sports student is also taking part in the all-night marathon and is hoping it will show how passionate she is about the subject as she prepares to study Sports & Physical Education at Leeds Beckett University next year.
“This is a great chance to take on a challenge with like-minded people and I’ve already met others who are going to the same university as me. We plan on living together whilst we study at Leeds so it’s really exciting.”
A range of awards were on offer for everyone taking part and staff across the department maintained a close watch for all those displaying the Olympic values of Friendship, Respect and Excellence along with the Paralympic values of Determination, Inspiration, Courage and Equality. Accrued points across these values and in each sporting discipline determined the winning continent with South America narrowly rising above the rest. The fantastic on-court effort has been matched off-court, with all participating students collecting donations from friends and family. The total amount this year has reached over £2000 with money still coming in.
It’s time for a well-earned rest to all those taking part with almost everyone looking forward to next year.
It’s not too late to join the team yourself, apply to study a sports course at OSFC and take part in Olympathon 2016. You can apply for a place on the CAMTEC National Diploma in sport or the A-Level in PE right up until September. To find out more visit www.osfc.ac.uk/courses/pe-sport/ or call the application helpline on 0161 287 8000.