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This is a guest blog by Mark Westbrook, studying BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy.

At 38 years, I am a mature student who came to the BU family after completing two years of a three-year degree in Sports Injury and Rehabilitation. After researching BU’s BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy offering and confirmation of my year two BSc grading, I applied through Clearing. I can’t be more impressed with the BU Admissions Team in this regard. I was sure Physiotherapy was more my bag than sports injury rehabilitation and taking on the application process myself via Clearing was daunting to say the least. The BU applications staff supported me step by step and were instrumental in correcting the odd error I made on the application journey, this was positive and pivotal in deciding BU was my top choice. They were positive, clear, knowledgeable and all you want when making long term life and career decisions.

After applying, I read about the Sport Scholarship programme BU offers. The website was informative with all information needed to apply. Once my place at BU was confirmed, I decided to put an application in for the Sport Scholarship. Nothing ventured nothing gained I thought. Having raced in Europe in ETU and the Spirit series in 2019 with strong results and with the GB AG triathlon world championships, I was pleased to be offered the scholarship. To date, the SportBU team are the only day to day BU staff I have met in person. Martin was very supportive and the S&C team welcoming and positive. It’s a joy to come in and train at BU. It’s well organised and just easy to mix study and training. The BU Sports Scholarship helps me keep on top of my kit, training and injury concerns so my studying is more focused. If you are thinking of applying, do it. It’s simple to do, and a slick process.

With races few and far between this year, it was great to race my “go to race”, Bournemouth International Triathlon which is a Regional Championships race. Having placed 2nd overall last year with a bike mechanical issue, I was pleased to reduce my overall time and swim time, finishing some three minutes quicker than the previous year to win my age group in a very competitive field. I’ve run a marathon PB so these two results taken together given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 landscape has made me looking forward to racing in Canada this year. Many winter races were removed such as an ultra-marathon and 100-mile cross country mountain bike race but SportBU are there helping me stay motivated, structured and on track -having them in my corner certainly helps.

As a corrective exercise practitioner, I took my Pilates and functional exercise session online at the start to the COVID-19 lockdown. I felt keeping regular clients and others motivated and active was vitally important for immunity, as well as having positive psychological benefits intertwined with more common physiological effects (Da Silveira 2020; Ranasinghe, Ozemek, and Arena, 2020). For some, the time scheduled for exercise is the only time for themselves so keeping the status quo with their exercise was a necessity. With no facilities, I simply turned the front room into a studio and with my phone as the camera man it got done through Faceboook live and Zoom.

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