Yorke Peninsula Fat Farmers a runaway success
GroundCover™ Issue: 120 | Author: Emma Leonard
Among the 40,000 participants in the 2015 Adelaide City–Bay Fun Run were 130 from South Australian farming families running as team ‘Fat Farmers’.
They included Yorke Peninsula grain growers Ben Wundersitz, Greg Hean and Scott Hoyle – the driving force behind Fat Farmers, which they set up to encourage growers to gather together to exercise.
Ben says obesity is a known problem in rural Australia, as is isolation. “So coming together to exercise is a great way of helping to overcome both of these issues,” he says.
“We have seen members of our group shed 15 to 20 kilograms. Exercising two to three times a week can really change your life.”
Ben, Greg and Scott came up with the Fat Farmers concept about seven years ago, and over the years a group of 12 to 15 Yorke Peninsula growers and their families have trained and participated in one of the 12, six or three-kilometre running or walking events in the City–Bay Fun Run.
However, this year the Fat Farmers group was boosted substantially by the participation of farming families from across SA.
The increased numbers were driven by the Yorke Peninsula group working with Sally Fisher from Primary Producers SA, who coordinates a ‘Healthy Farmers’ project. Sally helped introduce the Fat Farmers concept to growers in SA’s Mallee, Lower North and Eyre Peninsula.
The organisers say Fat Farmers is not only about trying to become physically fit, but also about mental fitness and wellbeing. Coming together to train is an important part of the program. Many people find it easier to run with others, talking and joking being part of the activity.
While transitioning from fat to fit farmers was the goal, many runners also helped raise about $7000 for the SA-based organisation Menswatch.
This program promotes mental health and suicide prevention. It aims to achieve these objectives by providing men with the skills to talk to their mates about difficult issues, such as family relationships and dealing with grief, plus health and welfare issues.
“We started Fat Farmers after a few of us decided to join BODYSYNC gym in Maitland and worked with our trainer and gym owner George Davies,” Ben says.
“But if there is no gym in your region then meeting at the local sports club and going for a run around the town is a great way to start.”