Marching Mick leads the way for Team La Trobe

After making the important decision to take control of his health, Mick Cumming is reaping the rewards of being a part of Team La Trobe’s health and fitness challenges during lock down.

The Team La Trobe health and fitness events have been designed by La Trobe Sport to encourage the University community to remain connected and active during the COVID-19 isolation period. The initial Walk & Run Challenge was such a great success that Team La Trobe has strapped on the running shoes once again to take on the Campus to Campus Challenge which kicked off on Tuesday.

Cumming, who is a Simulated Patient at the La Trobe University Bendigo Campus, came across the first Team La Trobe Walk and Run challenge when it began in June and gave himself the goal of completing the 42 kilometres solo.

“When I saw the challenge, I knew that I would do it by myself, and I set out to complete it as fast as I could,” Cumming said.

“I had no real routine other than I wanted to finish the 42km as fast as I could and possibly beat some younger students to the finish line.”

Staying active during isolation was something very important to Cumming, who recently decided to prioritise his physical and mental health.

As someone who lives with Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and mental health challenges, Cumming says he identified the period during isolation as the perfect window of opportunity to improve his overall health.

“At my age, I find it important to remain active in body and mind as much as possible,” he said.

“I find I am always looking for that next challenge now. Early in March, I simply woke up to myself and realised I needed to look after myself. No one else was going to do it for me.

“I have really fallen into bike riding again and I walk as often as possible; where I previously used the car to go to the shops, I now walk.”

Cumming believes the unity of the campuses through health and fitness events such as those recently run by La Trobe Sport is crucial to the community wellbeing of students and staff alike.

“It is very important for all university members, be they regional or metropolitan, to be involved together in sporting events like the previous and current challenge,” Cumming said.

“What it does do is bring us together as a team and also allows us to become familiar with others we may have not met in the past.”

Reflecting on his achievements, Cumming is proud of himself with his participation during the first Walk and Run challenge and is eager to accomplish even better results throughout the Campus to Campus Walk and Run.

“Once the challenge was completed, I was itching to tell my friends of my achievement and tell them how much weight I have lost in the last five months,” he said.

“I have gone from 97 kilograms to 91.4 kilograms.

“I am all about being active, losing weight and becoming a lot more healthier and fitter. I love the feeling I have now when I accomplish a challenge, be it small or big.”

A humble man, Cumming does not see himself as one of the reasons that others should motivate themselves to get out and be active. He rather believes it is a personal step someone must take to achieve similar things as he was able to.

“I am not one for preaching to others, but I do discuss my achievements with a few of my friends and I hope they are proud of me,” Cumming said.

“There is plenty of information available to people to motivate themselves to be fit and healthy, but we all need to take that first step and realise self-help is the best help.”

To find out how you can be involved in the Team La Trobe Campus to Campus Walk ad Run challenge, head to the La Trobe Sport website.

Tricia Mifsud is a third year Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism) student at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter @triciamifsud.