Walking the Simplyhealth Great Run Series

I am not an athlete… I am not even a gentle jogger… in fact in January the best description was definitely couch potato.

Inspired by Simplyhealth’s sponsorship of the Great Run Series, I set myself and (unbeknown to him) my husband Paul, the challenge of walking the distance of every one of the 13 Simplyhealth Great Run events this year.   That’s just over 240km. For the athletes out there that is no big deal, but for someone stuck in an unhealthy rut that is a really big change!

Our first walk on the day of the Great Edinburgh Cross Country was just 2.5km – it was cold, wet and windy. We took ourselves off to the Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey – beautiful surroundings to kick start our walking but the atmosphere was less beautiful - lots of huffing and puffing and cries of are we nearly there yet? It is funny when we look back now, as we don’t feel we have had a walk if we haven’t done at least 8km.

Over the course of the last few months we have walked 217km (on our own, with lots of different groups of friends, and with family). We have walked around London’s tourist sights, in the snow in the Swiss Alps, in National Trust estates and local wildlife sanctuaries, along parts of the Suffolk coast, and lots of circular walks to pubs (well it is important to reward progress!). We even joined half way through a marathon walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal – that one stands out, as it was the day I realised my 20 year old walking boots needed to go in the bin, as their worn insoles caused some pretty spectacular blisters – my first ever sports injury!

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— Swiss Alps

The most boring walk was 24 laps of the deck of the P&O cruise ship Arcadia in Southampton Docks, on the day of the Newnham Great London Run – when everyone else was enjoying the sail-away party, I still had lots of laps to go! The most amazing walks were in the Norwegian Fjords – clean air, spectacular scenery round every corner, so before you know it you have walked a half marathon!

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— Norwegian Fjords

We definitely have more energy ( have lost more than a foot in inches round our bodies between us) and feel better for it.   I have to admit to being a fair weather walker though, so I am going to have to watch out for draw of the sofa once summer is over!

Helen Dickinson

Author Chief Strategy Officer Published on