WRITTEN BY: PAIGE PENROSE
IMAGE: KAMIL SUSTIAK, MATT WISEMAN/LE BENT, BOEN FERGUSON
TRAIL RUN MAG WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME THE NORTH FACE ATHLETE PAIGE PENROSE FOR HER CONTRIBUTION PIECE TO TRM49
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT
As kids, we learn that ‘movement’ is associated with one of two things – competition or exercise, and we never really good a full understanding about how we can continue to incorporate daily incidental movement into our lives. The North Face athlete Paige Penrose, a trail runner currently studying and racing in cross country and track & field, provides a detailed contribution on the importance of keeping people included in everyday activities because as she writes…‘Unless you’re fortunate to land in a family that incorporates movement without thought into daily life, it quickly becomes dependent on participation in specialised programs that direct you into development pathways and competition structure.’
“Sport? Why would I play sport? That’s something kids do.”
Those words have played on my mind ever since my mother uttered them when reflecting on a patient’s response to her suggestion of incorporating daily movement into their lifestyles. At the time, I didn’t think I liked sport; or more to the point, I didn’t think I was good at it. I never considered myself to be one of the ‘sporty kids’. In hindsight, I also went to a very small primary school where at least one kid from each year group was competing at a national level in something. Perhaps not a fair relative baseline from which to assess my abilities.
I didn’t know what to do with those words and despite not allowing myself the label of being a ‘sporty kid’, I remember thinking ‘Well, thank goodness I’m still a kid’.
When I started high school, the incidental movement and games that occupied every morning tea and lunch break in primary school abruptly disappeared in place of small huddles of cross legged conversation. While the school didn’t have space for big fields, we had a basketball court and our back gate opened onto a sizable public reserve. Still, 1200 girls remained seated, enthralled in the often inconsequential topic of the day, or month if it was a particularly salty season of life.
We had sport once a fortnight. When you reached Year 11, things got serious. Perhaps when we needed it most, the designated sports period of our timetables was replaced by class or free periods for study. We were to fully dedicate ourselves to the HSC, which I haven’t thought about since the day I finished it. So much for the grandeurs it was depicted to carry, that my entire schooling was to lead to.
We had sports teams. You could play soccer, netball, hockey, touch football, athletics among others, but were you at a state representative level already to warrant a place on the team? No? Too bad.
Very, very quickly almost all forms of movement came to serve one of two purposes. Competition or exercise. We heard about keeping an active lifestyle and maintaining our wellbeing as school and life became more and more stressful. But how do you do that? What is wellbeing? What does my body say? What do I feed it? How do I move it?
CONTINUE READING THIS STORY – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #49 (NOV-DEC 2023).