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Meet the walkers: Richard

We ask walkers who have taken part in the Step Count Challenge why they decided to take part and what walking means to them.

Published: 10/02/2021

Last year's autumn Step Count Champion winner, Richard, kept his Step Count team going with inspirational messages, ideas and suggestions for new activities to try, and lots of motivation and encouragement. Here, Richard shares his experience of taking part in the Step Count Challenge.

Three Scottish Disability Sport teams registered for the 2020 Step Count Challenge (SCC). There was understandably inter team rivalry but within the SDS Hawks there was encouragement and support for one another throughout, and we never lost our team ethos of fun and respect. We set out to try and walk every day for two months but establish our own daily targets that were intentionally not shared. Individual members had different responsibilities and consequently targets set varied.

Having agreed the importance of variety over quantity, steps were accumulated within the home, office, local scenic walks, dog walking, golf course, dance classes etc. Members made their contributions at all times of day and night with interesting results. A “surge week” was introduced every third week, “booster days” were encouraged and we always had a Monday morning motivational exchange.

All five of us were committed and consequently the final total surpassed all our expectations. This was my second SCC and I enjoyed it even more than the first. The social and psychological benefits of walking are as important as the physical. I never thought that I would get so excited by my Fitbit Versa 2 vibration on my left wrist to signify 10k steps. When it appeared before midday, I was borderline ecstatic. How sad.  

I have always been an active person and following a career in sport, I turned my attention to running, cycling, golf and of course walking. My wife and I enjoy walking and golf together and 18 holes runs up lots of steps, particularly when you are not playing well. In East Fife we have lots of local Fife walks on our doorstep, great beaches, the Fife Coastal Path, Falkland Estate, the Lomond Hills etc. Armed with my ECCO shoes, Rohan trousers and Berghaus jacket I am ready for all terrains and weather.

Although I have had the massive pleasure of walking on the Great Wall of China, the Lairig Ghru, Quiraing and numerous Scottish Munros, I rate the west sands at St Andrews as probably a favourite location. It’s on my doorstep, I enjoy the Chariots of Fife story enormously, the history of the Old Course is incredible, and St Andrews is a very special place for our family. Perhaps a session on the west sands with my daughter, fellow Hawks (Jen/Sharon/Alison/ Louise) Jack Nicklaus, Gareth Edwards, or Barack Obama would be an ideal walk for me. I am passionate about sport, music, and inspirational people therefore my choices speak for themselves.

I walk every day but sometimes run or cycle. Having the ability to enjoy the outdoors will not last forever so it is important to grab the opportunity when I can. Although I like to run to favourite tunes, I am satisfied to walk with only the smells, colours, weather, and tranquillity around me. The benefits of exercise are well documented, and I believe it is important to add variety to your daily walk and never let it become routine and purely a physical challenge.