For the first time in its more than 41-year history, Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club (OGSLSC)’s main fundraising event, the RT Edgar Rip to River, was run virtually this year, with new race categories for people who use wheelchairs, ‘overaged Nippers’ and those wanting a longer 20km race.
“Those who would usually work behind the scenes to help set-up the event also had no excuse but to get involved and run the race, too,” said Bruce Honey, OGSLSC’s Vice President of Operations. “Thanks to the virtual format, this meant club members and their friends and family based interstate and overseas could join in for the first time and race those back home in Ocean Grove.”
The annual Hotondo 1.4km ‘Ripper Nipper’, RT Edgar 5km Run, RT Edgar 10km Classic Run and RT Edgar 10km Walk remained, with the addition of three new race categories, including:
- Hotondo 1.4km ‘Overaged Nipper’ – the Ripper Nipper now doesn’t stop at the age of 13, anyone can have a go at the most popular race, no matter their age
- RT Edgar 5km and 10km Wheelchair – due to the change in location and the move to a virtual environment, the Rip to River is now more accessible than ever and Ocean Grove SLSC is proud to have welcomed racers who use wheelchairs.
- RT Edgar 20k Rip’nBack – for those who love a longer race, now there was a chance to go longer, further, faster.
Participants could race as many times as they liked between 26 December to 8 January –to try to improve their times.
Meet race participant Chris Midgely
Chris Midgely, a ward clerk at Geelong Hospital, signed up for the 5km Wheelchair Race, which he completed on the same course as the Barwon River Run event he did prior to COVID-19 last year.
Chris began using a wheelchair following a motorcycle accident in 2005, when he was 21. He was keen to participate in the Rip to River to challenge himself, as well as for the excuse to be “outside, active and an inspiration to others”.
“You’ve got to have a go,” said Chris. “It feels good.”
Chris heard about the Rip to River event through Geelong Adaptive Sports, where he plays wheelchair tennis. He says wheelchair ‘running’ is hard on the hands and arms, but while the uphill sections are challenging, the downhill parts offer the ability to coast.
“The legs have bigger muscles than the arms, so it’s a bit harder in a wheelchair,” said Chris. “People are so helpful and kind on the events, though, and they offer to push you uphill. I always say no thinking that would technically be cheating.”
He missed the camaraderie of being at the event in person, but it was also easier on his own than dodging the traffic of other runners.
Other Life Saving Club virtual events this summer included:
- The Virtual Lorne Pier to Pub and Virtual Lorne Mountain to Surf (Mon 2 Nov 2020 – Thurs 14 Jan 2021)
- Point Leo Swim Classic (which ran from Sat 26 Dec 2020 to Mon 4 Jan 2021)
- Waratah SLSC’s Current Cruiser Week virtual swim (Sat 2 Jan – Fri 8 Jan 2021)
More club events for the summer can be found at https://lsv.com.au/2020-2021-club-carnival-calendar/