Last week, the Stanford community won this year’s Pac-12 Fitness Challenge by logging over 444,000 minutes of physical activity from Feb. 23-27. This marks back-to-back wins for Stanford Recreation and is the fifth time that Stanford has won the competition, which began in 2009.
During the annual week-long competition, members of the Stanford community recorded and reported the amount of time they spent exercising over the course of the week. Despite being a smaller school than some of its Pac-12 competitors, Stanford outperformed Washington State University, the second place finisher, by over 130,000 minutes of exercise.
Theo Mitchell, the Assistant Director of Marketing for Stanford Recreation, expressed his happiness with the turnout and the overall success of the competition.
“When you look at the number of minutes that were logged…the fact that everyone cares, that they participated and that they’re taking care of their fitness — that means a lot,” Mitchell said.
This year’s total of 444,237 minutes was over 50,000 minutes higher than last year’s, a success that Mitchell attributes to the widespread collaboration between departments. Stanford Recreation ensured that the message to participate reached the entire Stanford community by coordinating their efforts with groups and networks including BeWell@Stanford, the Stanford Athletics department, Stanford Staffers and the senior class presidents.
“We went with last year’s strategy [of reaching out to and motivating as many people as possible,] but hammered it home a lot more,” Mitchell said.
In addition to their advertising campaign, Stanford Recreation incentivized gym-going participants by providing giveaway items from vendors such as Muscle Milk and Jersey Mike’s.
“There are a lot of people who helped us out…and we are very appreciative of it,” Mitchell said.
Although there is no material reward for winning the competition, Mitchell said that the real prize is the activeness and sense of community generated through promoting physical fitness, along with the bragging rights that come with being the most physically active campus in the Pac-12.
“The big winner is the fact that we have this message of ‘okay let’s be active, but still let’s help Stanford win,’” Mitchell said.
Roger Romani ’18, who logged 350 minutes of exercise during the competition, agreed with Mitchell’s viewpoint.
“I feel pretty proud to be a part of it, even though I’m not super surprised about [winning] because Stanford is so athletic,” Romani said.
In the future, Mitchell hopes to see even more friendly competitions encouraging physical fitness between schools elsewhere in the country and possibly even between conferences later on. Mitchell feels that such events could inspire even more activeness on campuses nationwide.
Contact Zachary Birnholz at zacharyb ‘at’ stanford.edu.