It’s a freezing December day and I’ve just arrived for a fun run at a small village in Basel Land, Switzerland. Being Australian, naturally, I’m out of my comfort zone!

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The first thing I notice is that traffic is being redirected from the centre of the village, signage is notifying competitors where registration is and there is a feeling in the air (nothing to do with it being minus 5 degrees) that something special, almost nerve wracking is about to start in the little village.

Now we have all felt pre-race nerves, even when we are competing purely as an enthusiast but we have also felt that sense of welcome, excitement and community at a sport and recreation event.

This was a small community event but what distinguishes sporting events between other events in my opinion are their ability to attract people into doing something that oddly enough seems crazy, for example: let’s go and run as hard as I can for 17km and while I’m at it my body is fighting below zero tempertaures!

There has been plenty of research into the connections between community and sport and recreation participation. Positive impacts on the community include enhanced confidence and self-esteem, empowerment of disadvantaged groups, reduction in crime, generation of employment and income, improved health and environmental conditions and many more. With this in mind it’s clear to see that with the ongoing support of the community towards events and the influx of money that an event can bring to a community there are many positive direct and indirect outcomes.

If this much excitement and positivity can be generated from a low-key event in a small village in Europe, just imagine what the energy will feel like in Masaka, Uganda, on race day. The whole town, and doubtless surrounding communities, will be out for this. Everyone. Cheering. You. If you’ve run a race before you’ll have an idea of the buzz, if not, you’re in for a big, but very pleasant, surprise.

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My opinion is that ‘the single easiest way to raise human capital is through sport and recreation involvement’. I felt the community’s power at that little event in Switzerland, it was energizing, now it’s your turn to put your runners on and get running.

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About the author – Shaun Mulraney is an Australian Sport’s tragic. Having played on the futures tennis circuit for one year in 2004 he then moved onto other sporting pursuits and then ended up pursuing a career in sport and recreation management.

After completing a 3 year traineeship in Recreation Management at Albury City Council, an internship in Sport and Recreation Project Management at Brimbank City Council, a certificate 4 in Community Recreation and a Bachelor in Sport and Recreation Management in Melbourne he wishes one day to work in sustainable practices within the sporting industry and community development.

Currently he’s working on this goal in Southern Germany.

For more information please contact Shaun via email: [email protected]

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