"As an outdoor pursuits instructor, expedition leader and keen ball sports person, adventure and sports have been a major part of my outdoors experience so I very much felt it was an important area that needed to be included in our Outdoor Hub.” Liz Edwards, Muddy Faces founder
We asked Gary Marlow, who has been delivering award-winning inclusive programmes within sport, forest schools and outdoor learning since 2003, through Marlow Sports Group and Woods for Learning, to explain what outdoors sports means to him.
Gary has sat on the National Board for the Association for Physical Education and is Chair of South East Region; he has also developed a number of initiatives such as one of the largest schools’ tennis team competitions in the country.
What is sports & adventure?
"Incorporated into the definition of ‘sport’ are all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction. These include: play; recreation; organized, casual or competitive sport; and indigenous sports or games."
United Nations Inter-agency Taskforce on Sport for Development and Peace
For me sport is competitive, challenges me socially, participating either within a team or as an individual, it can bring out the best in people if participating in the correct spirit.
"An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger such as traveling, exploring, skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting or participating in extreme sports."
For me adventure is something that challenges me individually, both physically and mentally. I like to seek out crazy adventures and see if I can complete them, if I don’t then I try again; my motto is ‘take the next step, if you do that you are one step closer to your goal.’
There are around 8,000 different sports and therefore there is lots to choose from. Through my work within physical education I try to inspire children to love the learning through a range of sports rather than specific sports; each sport is linked to a category. What I mean by that is the following:
• Striking & fielding activities: rounders, cricket, softball, baseball, stoolball, etc
• Invasion games: netball, football, blind football, rugby, hockey, wheelchair rugby, American football, etc
• Net & wall games: tennis, badminton, seated volleyball, squash, etc
• Target games: Boccia, golf, archery, darts etc.
• Swimming, athletics, gymnastics.
Well, where do we start with that one – Everest, Kilimanjaro, Great Wall of China? Often out of reach for many of us; an adventure could be anything that challenges the individual; e.g. pick a letter of the alphabet, get a map of your local area, go to the street with that letter, discover how you will get there, what trees, plants, birds are along the way – what clothing will you need (there’s no such thing as bad weather, its bad clothing)?
Taking it up a step: learn and teach someone how to navigate, use a compass and use a map – then the adventures can really start a new life, to orienteering.
Now back to bigger adventures…
About Gary Marlow
As well as his exciting programmes Gary takes part in crazy adventures, such as when turning 30 he took part in 30 challenges, from bob sleighing, to visiting 30 different piers, to doing the three peaks solo. He gained a Guinness World Record on his birthday in 2012 for the longest ever hockey match (34 hours). More recently he has taken part in Britain’s most brutal race “The Spine Race” – 110 miles of the Pennine Way in January 2017; he hopes to complete the 268 miles in 2019.
Something new for primary schools - use your PE & Sport Grant
Marlow Sports Group has devised a brand new permanent orienteering concept for primary schools; it has been piloted in 7 schools including a special needs school.
It takes relatively inaccessible, drab maps and way points for “young children” and makes it fun in the comfort of your own school; it doesn’t only link to PE but works across all subject areas including English, maths and science.
How it works
1. Email email@example.com for details
2. Marlow Sports map designer will visit your school to take photos of the area, and start to develop the map
3. Together we’ll decide on the design of the way points – it can have:
a. Numbers 1-26, b. Letters a-z, c. Characters, d. Colour triangle.
4. Everything will be sent to the school – for the caretaker to put up the way points (keeping costs down)
5. Map finalised with blank map, map with all way points on, map with blank way points
6. Training if required (although it is designed in a way to reduce the need for training) but a basic concept can be achieved in less than an hour.
Installing the orienteering package is a great “SUSTAINABLE” way of using your PE and Sports grant and for getting children excited about adventures.