Liverpool’s reputation as one of the world’s greatest sporting cities is being pushed to the fore by an exciting collaboration between the new Grand National sponsors Randox Health, Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, and the University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital.
The event, known as Randox Health Week, is free and open to the public between Monday 3rd and Wednesday 5th April – the three days prior to the Randox Health Grand National.
Teaming up with a racing legend, Olympic athlete and boxing champion, three days of interactive sporting programmes will teach hundreds of local students about the importance of harnessing their health in order to achieve sporting excellence.
During each morning session of Randox Health Week, pupils and their teachers from across Merseyside and Cheshire, with the help of qualified coaches and sport scientists, will be put through professional fitness programmes, including combat sports such as boxing and taekwondo, and high interval training such as indoor cycling. During these exercises, which will include the opportunity to experience life as a jockey by having a go on a horse simulator, the children will also have some physiological measurements taken, including their heart rate.
The event will be given an added touch of excitement in the form of attendance by Liverpool’s renowned jockey Franny Norton and the city’s boxing champion Derry Mathews, as well as Olympic sailor Matt McGovern.
In the afternoon sessions, guests can then participate in presentations given by world-leading authorities on the benefits of a preventive health approach in exercise and life in general. A highlight from Monday’s afternoon session will be Dr George Wilson discussing the effects of weight-making strategies on jockeys and how to move beyond negative practices. He will be joined by The Stroke Association who further back advocating a preventive health approach.
The afternoon of Tuesday 4th April will provide a unique insight into horse health, and specialist equine vets from the University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital will join the sports scientists at Liverpool John Moores University to provide the equine health perspective. Professor Cathy McGowan, who will investigate equine excellence in racing and the increasing use of blood tests in training horses, will be joined by Harry Carslake, discussing why clean air and lungs are crucial for performance, and representatives from equine feed specialists Dodson & Horrell.
Professor Cathy McGowan, Head of Department of Equine Clinical Science and Director of Veterinary Postgraduate Education at the University of Liverpool’s Equine Hospital, commented:
“The racehorse is one of the finest athletes on the planet with a highly specialised physiology to enable it to perform at such high levels. We will be focussing on highlighting that unique physiology and also how understanding that is used to monitor and maximise the health of these equine athletes.
“We are delighted to be involved with Randox Health in providing these educational seminars at LJMU as well as at the Aintree Grand National on Friday and proud to be supporting Randox’s involvement in equine and human health.”
Wednesday afternoon of Randox Health Week will feature a topic that can lead to devastating consequences – the impacts of training on artery health and early detection of cardiovascular disease in humans.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, CEO of Randox said:
“We are delighted to be teaming up with Liverpool John Moores University as part of Randox Health Week ahead of the Randox Health Grand National. With over 34 years’ experience in the diagnostics industry we have developed innovative and accurate technology for use in humans that reveals our current and future health. Our equine panel is able to assess the impact of training on endurance racehorses to increase their performance and well-being. The Grand National offers us the perfect platform to spread our message of preventive health for people and horses, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with the audiences at this exciting event.”
Professor David Richardson, Director of the LJMU School of Sport and Exercise Sciences commented:
“The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is delighted to be working with Randox. Our research has already had a major impact on the health and wellbeing of jockeys and reduced the occupational risk of race riding not only in the UK but throughout the world. The workshops are intended to raise the students’ understanding of these appropriate training protocols and techniques associated to horse riding and different sports at an elite level and the aligned health benefits.”
There will also be a tour of the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES), the top ranked institution in the UK for research in sport and exercise sciences* where many elite athletes benefit from world-leading research.