UTravelActive Walking Challenge

You may have already heard about the hugely successful UTravelActive ‘Step into Summer’ virtual UK coast walking challenge has been taking place over the past few weeks. It set the ambitious target for staff teams to get more active with more journeys on foot and then log their daily steps online to walk the equivalent distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. It has created a stir of friendly competition amongst staff teams as well as clocking up some really impressive mileage! So far, 980 people in 196 teams have walked an amazing 102,587 miles collectively!

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Lisa Ronkowski from P&A Operations has been taking part in the challenge from department in the ‘Boggis, Bunce & Bean’ team and we really wanted to share her story with you. It’s certainly inspired us to think about how we can  swap more of those short car journeys for a brisk walk instead! 

The Summer Walking Challenge has given me exactly the nudge I needed to make more effort to be active – there’s really no need for me to reply on buses or cars for a lot of the journeys I make, and as we currently have so much daylight it has been safe to walk more too. I still get a lift to work on a morning, as I am not ready to give up my duvet time for exercise! I make an effort to walk during my lunch hour instead of staying at my desk or sitting in the staff room, and even if I haven’t had a reason to walk into town I have gone for a few laps of Woodhouse Moor or St George’s field. I think these lunchtime walks have been my favourite part of the challenge, as the areas are so beautiful this time of year and it has been a real treat to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery – I even saw the foxes one day!

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Here’s Lisa standing next to her favourite lunchtime spot in St George’s Field. This hidden column is towards the back of the field near Henry Price Halls. Did you know this was there? If not – go and check it out during your next lunch-break!

The biggest change to my daily routine has been my route home – I have walked home every night since the challenge began and it’s a 4 mile walk, sometimes with a detour if I’ve got an errand to run. The weather has, so far, been on my side and instead of feeling tense and drained when I get in from being stuck in traffic I feel energised and alert when I get home. The biggest challenge for me has been the weekends, as I volunteer at a charity shop on a Saturday so spend most of my time behind the till or sorting donations. I have tried to make a point of walking round the shop a lot more, particularly if it’s quiet, to increase my step count for the day. Sundays are my most sedentary day but I can usually find some excuse to go for a walk for an hour or so to try and get the count up.

To really notice the benefits of walking more I measured myself before it began – I have already lost about 3 inches overall and it’s only been 4 weeks so far. I have really enjoyed the challenge, and am completely amazed at the distance that me and my team have covered, not to mention the 180+ other teams that have been taking part too – we’re going to make it to John O’Groats this week and will be on our way back by the end of the challenge. I never thought we’d get close but was looking forward to seeing how far we could manage. I’ll definitely keep up with the walking once the challenge is over, as long as the weather stays dry! It has saved me money, made me feel better overall and stopped me from getting tense in traffic after a long day at work.

It has been great to follow the progress of people getting more active out and about, integrating more green travel into their daily routines and working in teams to reach a goal. Well done everyone!