Sitting on a spin bike for four hours might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but Group Fitness Instructor Phil Cunninghame can’t think of a better way to raise money for charity. “This is something we love doing, having a spin and a bit of banter, so being able to do it for a good cause is even better!” Phil is a staple of the spin team, and is leading the charge on this year’s fundraiser for the Auckland City Mission.

The AUT Millennium Gym team have held a spin fundraiser for charity in the lead up to the festive season for the last few years. Last year’s event, held in the spin room, saw keen riders pedalling for six hours. Two years ago, with a total of almost $4000 raised, the AUT Millennium community topped the City Mission’s fundraising leader board for a week. “We’re lucky to live in a rather affluent area,” Phil says, “but the reality is that there are a lot of less fortunate people across the city. It’s nice that we’re able to do something to support the City Mission, who help these people at Christmas time.”

This year’s event will take place on Friday 7 December in the AUT Millennium Sports Hall, a place where many of the country’s leading athletes train. The change of venue allows for a bigger group, bigger sounds and the ability to draw inspiration from the high performance environment. “Last year, in the spin room, the smell got a little agricultural after a while,” Phil recalls with a laugh. “It will be nice to have more space and better air quality!”

Phil is an original member of AUT Millennium Gym, signing up back in 2000 before the facility was even built. In 2015, he took his enjoyment of spin classes to another level, completing his instructor qualifications in Melbourne. Since then, he’s built a reputation as ‘Phil the Hill’. “I do add a lot of gears in my classes,” he chuckles. “We work hard, but we also have fun. I run my classes a little differently than what people might think of regular spin classes.” Calling on his time as a DJ in his youth, Phil enjoys crafting a soundtrack of tunes which will take people on a journey. “I use different genres and styles of music – 70s and 80s music blended with more intense tracks – and I try to evoke an emotional response in people. I want to take them on a journey, like a summer road trip or back to a childhood moment, so they can drift off while they’re biking away.”

With a four hour stint on the bike, the distraction may be welcome. Phil advises that there won’t be many sprints, in order to conserve energy. “I’ll encourage people to start off in their happy place, where it feels like they’re riding on the road, and then everyone is working at a level which is comfortable for them, even when we increase gears. It’s all comparative in terms of effort.” The spin bikes from the Group Fitness room will be relocated to the Sports Hall, although avid cyclists are welcome to bring their own wind trainers if preferred.

Phil encourages anyone to get involved in the day, either as an individual or a team. “You don’t have to be a regular at spin, or even have done spin before,” he says. “Step outside your comfort zone, get a good workout in, all while having fun and raising money for a good cause!”

If you want to get some miles under your belt before the event, check out our new summer Group Fitness timetable for spin class times. You can catch Phil’s classes Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings.

Spin Fundraiser for Auckland City Mission

8am – 12pm, Friday 7 December
AUT Millennium Sports Hall

How it works

The AUT Millennium Gym Spin Fundraiser is open to Gym members and anyone who would like to help us raise funds for the Auckland City Mission.

You can take part as an individual or as part of a team. Seek sponsorship from family, friends and colleagues for every kilometre you cycle, or they can make a one-off donation to the cause. Your total distance (either as a team or individual) will be officially signed off by the Gym team – you then collect the designated amount from your sponsors. There are prizes for the rider and team who put up the most distance!

There will be silent auctions with AUT Millennium Gym prizes, personal training packages and more! All funds raised with be collated and gifted to the Auckland City Mission on behalf of the AUT Millennium Gym community.

For more information, or to register yourself or a team, contact the Gym reception.

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