Getting out for a daily walk has been an important part of lockdown life, enabling us to take time away from our screens and enjoy the fresh air.
And it has become much more than that for three Angus women – who caught the walking bug, strengthened their friendship and have done their bit for others along the way.
Shirley Inglis, Pamela Manley and Karen Stormont, from Carnoustie, undertook the 300,000 Steps Facebook Challenge set by cancer charity, Maggie’s, in order to maintain a social connection through lockdown and raise some money for charity at the same time.
Karen explains: “We’re part of a group of friends, but because of lockdown we can’t all get together. Cancer is something that affects many families in some form or other, so we just decided that we wanted to do something to help that was worthwhile.”
Taking it in turns to walk socially distanced in pairs, to comply with the government Coronavirus restrictions, the women originally aimed to walk 10,000 steps a day, going the extra mile at the weekends to keep up momentum.
Karen says: “We were really lucky with the weather, so we actually ended up walking more than that every day. When we passed the 300,000 steps mark, we started to think about how many we could actually do in the month. We just kept going.”
In total, the three women walked 1,327,003 steps around the community, taking advantage of the local routes including East Haven and Barry Mill.
“We were really pleased because we just didn’t have any idea we’d end up doing that many steps. We just set out to do the 300,000 so we were really chuffed with the final number.”
Having undertaken various fitness challenges, including the Race for Life, in different groups before, the Maggie’s challenge marks the first time that Karen, Shirley and Pamela have laced up their trainers to get active together.
Karen remembers: “If it hadn’t been for the restrictions we would have walked as a group, but we had to make do taking it in turns to walk in pairs.
“We all encouraged each other. If one of us wasn’t feeling like walking, we still always made sure that we went out. It helped sending each other encouraging messages on Facebook.
“We were able to work together as a team and challenge ourselves to see what we could do. It just feels like an achievement being all together and completing something.”
Overall, the team has raised more than £500 for Maggie’s, which will go towards providing cancer patients and their loved ones with practical and emotional support.
Karen says: “We were so pleased to raise so much money. All of our sponsors have been really generous and we didn’t expect to raise that much at the start of the challenge.”
Though deserving of a well-earned break, the team are already jumping into their next test.
They’re taking on another walking challenge, this time to raise money for Diabetes UK by taking one million steps from July to September: a walk in the park, in comparison.
Karen enthuses: “It has definitely impacted my own health and wellbeing. I’m usually quite active but I feel much better for getting out walking every day.
“Anyone can do it. You don’t have to go for a massive walk each day for miles and miles: just do a little bit and get moving.”