An Interview with ManSquared

This week we caught up with the team behind ManSquared, a project developing mental fitness tools to help facilitate open and vulnerable conversations between men.

A group photo of Finn, Anna, Rachel and Jamie sat on a wall
Left to right: Finn Higgins, Anna Parker, Rachel Lee and Jamie Thomson

Hello! Why don’t you introduce yourself?

We’re a group of four University of Bristol students all studying innovation, passionate about male mental fitness having seen the impact it has had on ourselves, our friends, families and communities.
Anna is a wild swimmer, keen rugby player and studies psychology.
Finn is a history student who loves football and the outdoors.
Jamie can’t get enough of his electronic music and loves spending time on his bike.
Rachel is captain of the Bristol Jets Pom team and enjoys being creative in her free time.

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Starting a new Sports Club

The University of Bristol Student Roundnet Club was new on the scene in 2019. In this post Committee member, Antoine, writes about the experience of setting up a brand new Bristol SU Sports Club, and shares top tips for any students interested in doing the same thing next year with another new sport!

What is Roundnet?

Roundnet is a relatively new sport which is very popular in the US and is taking the rest of the world by storm. The sport is amazing because it can be played almost anywhere and really caters to all abilities; from your casual BBQ with friends to competing in a World Championship final. The European and UK Roundnet scenes are thriving with new and exciting clubs and tournaments, so it was definitely a great time to get into the sport. Roundnet is also well known for its incredibly friendly and inclusive community, which is at the core of our Club’s ethos.

Roundnet is a sport played by four players in teams of two around a circular net. Once the ball is served onto the net, the other pair have up to three touches to hit it back onto the net. Once the ball contacts the net, possession changes to the other team. There are no boundaries, it is a 360º game! A team wins a point once the other team is unable to return the ball legally onto the net.

Roundnet Rules graphic

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Faces of the Run Series: Roy Kiruri

The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.

Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!

Bio

Name: Roy Kiruri
Staff or Student: Bristol SU Sabbatical Officer, International Students
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

 

 

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Faces of the Run Series: Brandon Dobson

“There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what I’ve believed my whole life so far.

I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s where I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.”

Bio:

Name: Brandon Dobson
Staff or Student: Student
Studying: Geography (BSc), School of Geographical Sciences
Year of Study: Third year
Additional roles: Lead Activator for Sport, Exercise and Health

There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what Ive believed my whole life so farI have always been very active and played sports that required me to run but at the age of 10 I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s when I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.  

I wasn’t terrible runner, but I was certainly no Mo Farah, often placing somewhere between 20th and 60th out of 150 to 200 people. I have always been competitive and given myself a hard time when I’ve not performed as well as I think I should, and as such, I often walked away from many sports when I had experienced a bad day In running, this competitive streak manifested  in trying to run longdistances far too quickly, which is why I struggled so much – my technique was entirely wrong

More than 12 years have passed since, and while my attitude towards my performance has relaxed significantly, my hatred of running competitively has remained. When I heard about the Bristol Run Series, my first thought was “why would anyone want to do that, I cant think of anything more boring than running for hours. Nonetheless, lockdown took its toll and I have become significantly less active, from doing some form of fitness every day to now only getting active around once a week. The effects were noticeable; my physical wellbeing suffered and my mental wellbeing was far from where it should be – I was unhappy. In desperate need to get myself back into shape – physically and mentally –  I did something quite shocking I signed up for the whole Bristol Run Series. 

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Faces of the Run Series: Rushab Shah

Our second Face of the Run Series is this year’s elected Sports and Student Development Officer, Rushab Shah. Rushab has been at home in Nairobi, Kenya since Christmas, which is where he will be running the Run Series virtual 5k on the weekend of 20-21 March.

A selfie of Rushab Shah and his Sister, Sachee, smiling
Rushab and his sister, Sachee, out on a run

Bio

Name: Rushab Shah
Staff or StudentStudent Sabbatical Officer
Role: Bristol SU
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

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The Spennylympics

Charlotte Nichols is a 3rd-year Medical student at the University of Bristol. This summer, she and her partner Stuart will be attempting to complete all 80 Olympic events during the 17 days that coincide with the Tokyo games (23rd July-8th August) to raise awareness and vital funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, in memory of Stuart’s much-loved brother, Spencer (Spenny).

Spencer aka Spenny
Spencer aka Spenny

In 2011 Spencer tragically lost his life to Motor Neurone Disease aged just 49, leaving behind his wife and 2 young sons. Spencer held a special place in the hearts of all who knew him. He was many things to many people, a well-known and talented musician, a keen footballer, a loyal and trusted friend and always the party starter! Spencer lived with this disease for just under 2 years and throughout this period he dedicated himself to raising as much awareness and money as he could for the MND association.

Charlotte told us “Stuart has always wanted to mark this 10-year anniversary and celebrate Spenny’s life in a fitting way and that was the seed that grew into Spennylympics, and in me, he has found someone determined and crazy enough to bring this idea to life! We are under no illusions as to just how difficult this challenge will be, in fact, it has been described by some as “impossible” which has only fuelled our determination to succeed even more!”

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Promotion to a Performance Specialist Club: Blog takeover with University of Bristol Archery

As a University of Bristol Sports Club, our Clubs can still choose to also work with external partners and governing bodies, to improve skills, enter competitions and gain notoriety in their sport for particular achievements or standards. For the University of Bristol Archery Club, this is Archery GB; the national governing body for archery in Great Britain. Archery GB’s Ontarget programme launched in 2010 and aims to equip grassroots level archery with the structure, vision and support to help the sport and its participants flourish and grow.

Following the announcement that UoB Archery had been recognised by Archery GB as an Ontarget Performance Specialist Club, we asked the Club to tell us a little bit about their journey to getting here. (more…)

Hosting An Online AGM: Blog Takeover with UBWRFC Captain, Frankie

COVID-19 can be seen everywhere in the news today, in fact it’s almost impossible to open up social media without seeing an article about it. However, at UBWRFC (Women’s Rugby), we didn’t let the fact our members are all hundreds of miles apart get in the way of everyone’s highlight of the year – the AGM.

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Student Spotlight: Astrid Blee (Bristol Uni Run Leader)

At Bristol Uni Sport we’re expanding our community of student and staff Run Leaders! Whether you’re a cross-country superstar, or total beginner, it doesn’t matter – we’re simply looking for enthusiastic, community-minded individuals to get involved and support your peers in keeping active this year.

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