By Gill Stewart at
Who is up for a challenge? And by that, I don’t mean those half-hearted resolutions that we make every January – the same ones we have made every year for the last five years!
No, I mean a good meaty challenge to focus on, one that takes you away from your daily life and that you could look back on at the end of the year and say with pride “I DID THAT” – something that makes the year stand out for you in your memory, one that you will never forget and that spurs you on to do other things that you never thought you could do.
With hope to inspire you – Let me share with you this story from Julie Barnes, a regular Nordic walker.
“2016 – (not so long ago) my best friend suggested we take a week and walk part of the Camino de Santiago – I didn’t know much about it but agreed, although she craftily waited until I’d booked my flight to France before she gave me the itinerary – I can’t repeat on here exactly what I said when I read Day one – ten miles, day two FIFTEEN miles, but it wasn’t pretty I can tell you.
Nevertheless – I was committed, and from January onwards we committed to regular Sunday walks, and this is where the fun and love of walking started. Not only did I get to spend more time with my best friend putting the world to rights as we walked (before this like a lot of people we struggled to find time to see each other), I also got to know her daughter, who was coming with us, a lot better. Add to this the different routes across Northamptonshire every weekend, night-time debates on the lightest sleeping bag and the lightest washable, quick drying undies (!), and suddenly, although we had a challenge ahead, we were also loving the journey to it.
Now, I could write a whole blog about the Camino itself, but I’ll leave that for another time – but in short, I’ll say this, 120 miles in five days, new friendships and challenges I never thought I could do and I came back a different person. I have a fear of heights, yet I climbed a Pyrenees mountain and down again on the first and second day!!
When I came back I felt I could do anything, so I….
1) Climbed Snowden (involved a few tears but I still did it)
2) Got my first tattoo (fear of pain)
3) Swam underwater for the first time (another fear)
4) Did the high ropes (another few tears but I made myself carry on)
5) Took up dancing
So, you can see that setting myself this one challenge has had a major impact on my life – so what has this got to do with Nordic walking you are thinking? Well if you are reading this you are most probably already involved in Nordic Walking (and if you are not – why not!!) but have you pushed yourself further? Thought about where it could take you and taking your hobby to another level that challenges you?
Personally, I am going back to walk another three weeks of the Camino this year and may even fit in a Nordic Walking Festival or two.” – Julie
Are you aware that there are Nordic Walking events all year round where you can take part in challenges? Have a look at https://www.nordicwalking-holidays.com/events/ and start planning.
Don’t just think about it, DO IT !! – you won’t regret it, as Sue’s testimony shows.
Sue from Bromsgrove completed our tough 27-mile challenge – she says:
“The Nordic Walking Marathon 2017 is an event I will never forget. I had never entered a challenge before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and also what I would be capable of. Once you get started that competitiveness takes hold and although you are only challenging yourself, that feeling when you overtake someone is great! The focus is on achieving your best possible time. Twenty-seven miles in 7 hrs 45mins – I still can’t believe it! The icing on the cake was to finish third fastest female!”
She went on to say:
“I’m still buzzing from this experience and to be cheered over the finish line by my hubby and friends was a fantastic feeling. I really would encourage you to give it a go!” – Sue
I hope you get inspired to set yourself a challenge and let us know about it if you do.