Virtual cross-country takes hold in Victoria

By Andrew Johnston

School cross-country may not be possible in its traditional sense this year, but COVID-19 will not stop the sport going ahead altogether.

School Sport Victoria has received close to 4000 entries for the SSV Virtual Cross-Country, with close to 200 schools from across Victoria taking part.

The program encourages students to run or walk a distance between 1 km and 5 km at a time and place that suits them such as at a park, recreation reserve, oval, athletics track, green space, trail, footpaths or even a treadmill.

A Department of Education and Training spokesperson said they hoped to see students continuing to engage in their fitness during the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We want students to remain active during this time and schools have been provided advice to ensure this can happen safely,” the spokesperson said.

“All inter-school sporting events and competitions have been postponed until further notice.

“However, schools are getting their students involved in virtual sporting activities and non-contact sports.”

The spokesperson said while the virtual cross-country was a departure from the norm, it was expected to provide a great outlet for young people.

“For the first time, School Sport Victoria is running its virtual cross-country instead of interschool cross-country events throughout this term to encourage students to be active by going for a walk or run,” the spokesperson said.

“We are pleased with the overwhelming response from schools, with students covering an enormous 10 000 km since it launched.”