Korfball’s big day out to BUCS regionals

It was an exciting and successful weekend for Leeds Gryphons Korfball Club as they challenged the best teams from across the North and Scotland.

On the 2nd of December Leeds University Korfball Club took 3 teams to Manchester for the qualifying round of the BUCS National Korfball Tournament. The first team were able to showcase their talents as one the best university teams in the country, storming their way through the tournament unbeaten to the top spot. The champion side also claimed the titles of top male and female scorer. Former President and current first team captain Jacob Cooke shared his excitement;

“Such an amazing day for Leeds Korfball, Leeds university 1’s coming 1st overall and qualifying for 1st tier nationals and Leeds university 2’s beating numerous other 1st teams to finish 5th and qualify for 2nd tier nationals. All Leeds University teams played so well, outperforming previous years dramatically. This year could be the most successful in the clubs history and we are excited to see how Leeds Uni 1’s, 2’s and 3’s do at their nationals!”

The second team had a much tougher time in their bid for qualification starting the tournament with a couple of tough losses and a draw. They desperately needed a win in their last game against Lancaster to guarantee qualification. The match strayed away from the game plan with the second team finding themselves on the wrong side of a two-goal deficit. At 5-3 they fought back to 5-5 but a draw would not be enough to qualify. With time and hope running out, Club President scored a last-gasp wonder goal to guarantee qualification to the nationals. The success proved a delight to all involved, particularly Second Team Captain Harriet who said;

“I am so proud of the energy and enthusiasm that our teams displayed. Everyone played the best Korfball of their seasons and the support from side lines was phenomenal”

The third team made a valiant effort in their debut tournament. The majority of the team is made up of beginners who have only just started playing the sport this year. Although they are still finding the ropes of the game they played incredibly, going toe to toe with some of the best teams in the country. They won their first ever game against a strong Manchester side and secured a draw in a scrappy derby game against our very own second team.

What’s next for Korfball?

The first and second teams will be competing at the BUCS national trophy finals on the 4th of March. They will be competing against the top 16 universities in the country and we are looking for a top 8 finish. It has already been a successful year for korfball and we are not ready to give up yet.

University host junior parkrun

children running

Ten years ago the Sport and Physical Activity service at the University of Leeds started the third parkrun in the country on Woodhouse Moor. Since then parkrun has grown rapidly with 202,495 events in 17 countries worldwide! 

Following the University’s close relationship with parkrun and the opening of The Brownlee Centre and Cycle Circuit last year, Sport and Physical Activity and parkrun have teamed up once again, this time to launch a junior parkrun. The Bodington junior parkrun will take place on the University’s cycle circuit where children (aged 4-14yrs) will complete a 2km loop.

parkrun is all about inclusiveness, wellbeing and bringing together people in the community, the Bodington Cycle Circuit is the perfect location to achieve this with the tarmac circuit used for the run and The Brownlee Centre providing an indoor space for a drink and place to talk after the event.

The University invested £5m to create these facilities last year and one of the key aims is to provide space for members of the local community to use. Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport and Physical Activity at The University of Leeds said;

“We are committed to providing facilities where we can, for keeping the local community as active as they can be. So we are delighted to be able to support and host the Bodington Junior parkrun.”

Sport & Physical Activity have provided the £3k funding to launch this parkrun, which has bought the equipment needed to run the event. They are also providing the facilities for free, displaying their commitment to providing opportunities for children to be active.

“Encouraging children to be physically active at an early age is creating habits for life. We are keen to do this alongside encouraging young people to be aspirational about coming to study for a world class degree at the University of Leeds.

parkrun is a great inclusive offer; I love taking part in my local parkrun on Saturday mornings and would encourage everyone to get involved as a participant, a volunteer or a supporter.”

Suzanne Glavin

The Bodington junior parkrun launches this Sunday (25 February) at 9am and if you would like to get involved all you need to do is register on the website here. You only need to do this once then just turn up on the day.


Volunteering around the world

Suzanne Glavin Head of Sport at world athletics

As it’s National Student Volunteer Week our Head of Sport & Physical Activity tells us all about her exciting experiences!

I first got involved in volunteering at a major sporting event from being, as they say, roped in at the last minute to a mountain bike test event run by some friends. They were short of helpers and it was a 5am start on-site!

I’ve always been involved helping out with my various sports clubs and teams as well as helping to develop volunteering for young people in my previous job roles but helping at the mountain bike test event was my first experience at a major event. Since then, volunteering in sport has taken me all over the country and I’ll soon be making my way across the globe to the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

I have volunteered at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014. Further afield I’ve helped at the World Rowing Championships at Eton in 2013, which was very exciting. I’ve also worked at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and most recently at the World Athletics Championships in 2017 (pictured in header). Each year I also volunteer annually at RideLondon and the London Marathon.

“It was an honour to be selected as a ‘Games Maker’ in London and I felt a real pride in being British and supporting the delivery of such a successful Games.”

I have always worked in sport and I have played international rugby union and netball in my time. Yet, I had no idea how journalists and photographers carry out their roles and achieve great stories and images. Much of my volunteering has been within the sport press operations team and I’ve learnt so much about how they capture our athletes’ best sporting moments for us all to enjoy.

I’ve had great fun in the roles of flash quote reporter, media help-desk volunteer, photography volunteer, mixed zone team leader (where the press meet the athletes to interview them immediately as they come off field of play) and tribunes (where the media sit to watch the match and write their stories). All of this experience has given me a real sense of team working and cooperation in a professional environment. This has all been made so through some great event training and working with the other volunteers who focus on making the event the best it can be. I’ve created some memories for life, spending time with Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Dan Carter – just to name drop a few!

“One of the things I love is that you can keep volunteering throughout your life; in fact I’m just preparing for my trip to the Gold Coast in late March for the Commonwealth Games 2018.”

I have secured a place as a photo volunteer looking after the ‘snappers’ at triathlon and various cycling events. I’m looking forward to meeting up again with other staff and volunteers in press operations, many of whom I’ve worked with at other events. Of course a billy bonus is that you also get free stash, some of which can even be used post-event for training in!

Volunteering has given me the opportunity to visit and spend time in other great cities and countries, I’ve met some wonderful people from all around the world, many of whom are now my friends. These opportunities have allowed me to learn more about the places and people, and it has enabled me to meet and liaise with Olympians, Paralympians, World Cup Rugby players and rowers from around the globe.

“I’d strongly recommend that you make time to get involved in volunteering; you just never know what opportunities it will give you now and in the future. If someone asks for you to help just say yes and see where it takes you!”

Suzanne Glavin
Head of Sport & Physical Activity at The University of Leeds


You can find out more about all our volunteering opportunities on campus, in our community and all over the world on our volunteering page.

Commonwealth Selection for Kim Daybell

Kim daybel paralympic table tennis player

Kim Daybell’s latest success in selection for the Commonwealth Games.

After reaching the quarter finals of the men’s individual in Rio back in 2016 and successfully gaining 2 silver medals in the PTT US Open, Kim Daybell is back. In April 2018 Kim will be off to Australia with England’s Table Tennis team to play in the Commonwealth Games. Clearly delighted he shared his thrill in being selected for the team;

“I’m really excited. It’s the first time para has had a standing event. To be part of the first one is going to be very exciting and to go to Australia will be a good trip. It will be nice to stand side by side with the able-bodied players and get the same coverage and the same recognition.

We are representing England rather than GB and it will be interesting to see if it has a different feel to it. We could play against our colleagues from Scotland or Wales, who we’ve never had to play against before. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Athlete Kim Daybell ready to serve holding table tennis bat and ball

Kim will be making his Commonwealth debut in Australia competing alongside 10 fellow team members who between them will be challenging 9 medals over the course of the competition. Team England are confident of success and believe Kim and his fellow athletes will provide strong competition. The University of Leeds is supporting Kim along the way and wishes him the best of success in the upcoming Games.

Mantality retreat success

Group of males wearing matching t-shirts holding giftbags at mantality retrea

Last weekend, three University of Leeds students journeyed to Weetwood Hall Hotel to partake in a three-day retreat with Leeds Rhinos legend Stevie Ward to look into male mental health. The Mantality retreat aims to encourage men to be more open and honest with each other consequently helping them to achieve a greater sense of control over their lives and empowering them to achieve their best.

The participants on the retreat expressed a range of reasons for wanting to take this fantastic opportunity, seeing it as a way to push their own boundaries by doing something that they didn’t feel comfortable with. By attending with an open mind they were encouraged to look at their past, present and future experiences and how this has affected their ideas of masculinity. 

So what was it all about?

The weekend was composed of a range of activities to increase self-awareness. From yoga to meditation workshops, each challenged ideas of manliness. This opportunity allowed everyone to be inspired to do things they wouldn’t normally do as men, and most importantly talk.

The group were encouraged to speak about their thoughts through a ‘men’s circle’. This offered the opportunity to share their feelings and allow themselves to be vulnerable in a safe and comforting environment. Feedback from our students told that all those taking part felt as though they were able to share their experiences. Working together to find ways of fulfilling their potential, they were able to remove limiting beliefs of what it means to be a man.

Andrew Marks, the Charity Secretary for Leeds University Rugby League, reflected on the weekend:

“I learnt that’s it is OK to be open about your feelings, to be vulnerable, and to have issues. I learnt a lot about myself, moving on from the past and how to be more present in today’s society.  We discovered how to really focus on our lives moving forward and it helped me realise how to be the best version of myself. I discovered how to be myself and take off the mask we put on to society. Summed up by an Oscar Wilde quote, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.’”

A huge thanks to the footsteps fund for giving our students this fantastic opportunity. Also a special thank you to Stevie and the Mantality team for running this incredible programme.

International Student Exercise Classes Success

This Christmas, the University of Leeds flagship fitness facility – The Edge, offered a unique series of free exercise classes for its international students and the wider Leeds Global Community.

The classes included the ever popular, Les Mills Body Pump and Body Combat along with some brand new virtual led classes taught in Mandarin. The University of Leeds has invested significantly in their Group Exercise Timetable providing one of the largest programmes in the country, with over 220 classes on offer per week during term time.

Suzanne Glavin (Head of Sport) said; “It’s really important that we make sure that our sport and group exercise class provision at the University of Leeds meets all our students’ needs, including our international students. We were grateful and delighted to capitalise upon our strong collaborative working with Les Mills. We were delighted that we could pilot their excellent virtual classes, and be the first to launch those taught in Mandarin. Our international Chinese students who remained in Leeds over the Christmas period enjoyed a taste of home through taking part in Mandarin virtual group exercise classes“.

The Edge now has a fully kitted out virtual studio, offering a range of virtual classes for both beginners and the more experienced exercise class goer.

155 class bookings were made over the two weeks of Christmas for this new venture and feedback received from the students was resoundingly positive.


I think it’s a really brilliant idea to put these classes during December, especially for international students. I really enjoyed the class, there were loads of weights and bars available which was good. I would definitely attend again! Thanks for putting them on!” – Miranda

I attended two virtual classes and they were very good, especially that the instructions were in Mandarin. I enjoyed them and realised that I really need more exercises. I’d like to book again if similar classes will be available in the future” – Huiming 

The Edge has been recognised at the National  Fitness Awards over three consecutive years, coming runner-up in the National Group Exercise Award category in 2017.


Leeds Sports Awards Sponsor

We are proud to be supporting the city’s annual sports awards this March, where hundreds of people will come together to celebrate the success of athletes, volunteers, coaches and spectators over the past year.

At the event we are sponsoring the club/team performance award which has the following finalists:

  • East Leeds Swimming Club (Masters)
  • Leeds Gymnastics Club
  • Matty Lee & Lois Toulson

You can see the full list of finalists on the Leeds Sports Awards website. We wish all the finalists good luck for the night and look forward to celebrating everyone’s success over the past year.

The University of Leeds is a key partner of Sport Leeds; the district activity partnership for the city. We work collaboratively alongside the other Sport Leeds partners towards the shared vision to make Leeds the most active big city in England, by making sport and physical activity accessible for everyone.

Supporting events such as the Leeds Sports awards cements our commitment to this vision and our partnership with the city.


Lifeguard Team Triathlon Achievement!

A massive congratulations to our Lifeguard Team who came third in the country in the Royal Life Saving Society Triathlon!

The IQL UK & CIMSPA Lifeguard Triathlon,  is an event which tests theory, swimming ability and CPR.

Twenty-nine members of our lifeguard team participated in the competition with twelve females and seven male competitors achieving a top 50 rank in the individual stakes. This fantastic result certainly reflects the hard work, effort and dedication that our lifeguard team have shown in their training and job role moreover, it is a testament to our lifeguard trainers and the positive impact and influence that they have had on the lifeguard team.

Gemma Smales (Duty Manager) said:

“As a business we should be proud of our lifeguard team for this achievement as it demonstrates the professionalism, passion, commitment and experience of our team”.


This accomplishment exemplifies that teamwork is at the heart of any great achievement!

Well done to all of the members of our lifeguard team, we know we’re in safe hands!


New Year, new Varsity series

3 male cross country runners

Leeds Varsity is back. Our 9th annual Cross Country Varsity kick started the 2018 series and saw each university claim a point in the race for the title.

Each January we take on local rivals Leeds Beckett in our first Varsity event of the year. With two separate races, a 9.5km male race, and a 6.2km female race, there are a total of 2 points up for grabs. Over the years the event has seen some impressive names compete for those all-important Varsity points; Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Gordon Benson, Non Stanford and Tom Bishop to name a few.

Women's cross country team gather for team photo in a field

Similar to parkrun Varsity, students, staff, alumni and members of the public are welcomed to take part in this event with the top six female  and top twelve male students then gaining points for their respective universities.

This year it was Leeds Beckett (LBU) Women who came out on top in the first race of the day. Helen Warburton of LBU crossed the line in first postion, closely followed by Beth Garland from UoL Cross Country.

Over in the men’s event it was the Leeds Gryphons who claimed the overall men’s title with Sam Dickinson, Josh Woodcock-Shaw and Nathan Marsh taking 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions respectively, however Alex Lee of LBU secured the top spot.


The University of Leeds Cross Country coach, Greg Hull said:

“It’s always great to kick-off the Varsity series with the cross country races, seeing not just our students, but staff and members of the public taking part in an inevitably great event. Both teams put in a fantastic effort on the day and the women weren’t far away from making it a 2 point lead. Thanks to everyone who ran, set up the course, the officials and spectators for braving the cold winds and mud to help us put on a great event and also raise £190 for Hope Pastures Charity

Well done to everyone who was involved in the day. Head to the Varsity website or follow the Varsity Facebook and Twitter to find out more about the series. Up next will be American Football Varsity so keep a look out for more information.