Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Alan has won a FREE Just Walk place, who will be next?


Yes, that’s right we are very pleased to announce Alan Wood accepted our challenge and is our first Media Champion to have his article published in his local paper The Faversham News and so now qualifies for a FREE place on our 2017 Just Walk!

Alan will be tackling the 60km route to raise funds for his chosen charity Alzheimer’s UK, a charity close to his heart as he has friends and family affected by dementia. By completing the 60km walk within one-day he is hoping to raise £250 for this worthy cause. If you would like to help Alan reach his target you can sponsor him on his Just Giving page.

A massive well done to Alan and good luck with your training and walking the BIG 60km on the 13th May. We promise we will be cheering you across the finish line.

If you are up for a challenge and becoming a media champion sounds like something you would be interested in it’s not too late to take part.

Want to be a media champion yourself? This is what you have to do… 
Just follow these 3 steps by 30th April:
  • Just book your place for the 13th May 2017 Just Walk event – right here
  • Just contact your local newspaper and convince them to print a picture of you, saying that you’re fundraising for the charity of your choice at the Just Walk event.
  • Just prove it with a picture: send us your proof to justwalk@acrossthedivide.com OR visit us on Facebook or Twitter ‘Like / Follow’ our page and post it on our Timeline with the hashtag #MediaChampion


We look forward to seeing all of your entries and joining our exclusive ‘Media Champion’ group!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Find out what motivates James to complete his 11th Just Walk


Walking one ‘Just Walk’ challenge is a great achievement but to have walked every single one since we started back in 2007, like our lifelong walker James Kinsella, is simply amazing! James usually undertakes the 20km route but in 2016 he raised the bar and took part in the 30km event, and to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2019 he has already decided he will take on the 40km challenge!

Raising money for his chosen charity, one that is very close to his and his family’s hearts is all the motivation James needs to carry on participating in Just Walk. Read on to find out why fundraising is so important to James and why he takes on the Just Walk challenge each year…

“Having worked in the NHS as a qualified nurse for many years it was only after semi-retiring in 2002 that I found the time to start walking. I thought it would be a good way to stay fit and healthy as well as something that I could do anywhere and at any time, especially around the parks of Crystal Palace in London where I live. It also fitted in well with my new job at the Courts and Tribunal Services where I’m not as busy as I was, and now have more time to spend on myself.
I was born and lived in Ireland until I moved to London when I was 24, so one of the things I now have time to do is go back and visit family and friends every few months for a catch up. During that time I love to walk and explore the countryside. I’ve always been an active person and enjoy being outdoors, especially after having grown-up on a farm. I’m used to taking myself off in to the countryside and I have to say, it doesn’t get more rural or picturesque than the wild and windswept landscapes of Ireland. I also used to enjoy amateur athletics in my younger years and more recently I have taken up mountain climbing - I think now with all the walking I do, I am probably healthier than when I was back in my 30’s and 40’s.”

“For me, age isn’t a barrier and I really feel that it shouldn’t stop you or hold you back from trying new things. Look at me, I’m a great example that you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. I’m quite an emotionally driven person and for me, it took my retirement and unfortunately the passing of my brother when he was on a climbing trip to Mt Kilimanjaro in Kenya, to show me that life is too short and to make every day count, which is why I started researching various challenges I could take part in. Another big reason I wanted to participate in a challenge, to be able to fundraise and give something back to a worthwhile charity, is for my very special grandson, Riley. Riley was born with a cleft lip and palate, and had to endure various operations, all at a very young age. 6 years ago Riley had a very serious asthma attack which ended up with him being admitted into intensive care. Thankfully with the care and support of the staff at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital he is now a well, happy and thriving little boy. We are so grateful to the hospital as a family so this is my way of supporting them and saying a massive thank you. His mum and dad also set up the ‘Riley Carp Challenge’ annual charity fishing competition which raises much needed funds for the Evelina Children’s Hospital who treat and care for many brave children like Riley and has successfully raised over £3000 to date.

“I sometimes surprise myself that I have achieved these Just Walk challenges. I remember my first walk, it was a really emotional moment when I completed the route as I was so pleased and proud that I was capable of finishing, and now I wouldn’t miss taking part in any of them. That said, it does take a lot of training and hard work beforehand so I feel fully prepared for the challenge ahead. I usually walk 20 miles a week around the parks in London and then leading up to the event I increase the distance each week up to a mileage of about 35 miles a week. Over the years this is what I’ve found to be the best training that suits me and ensures I am fit and healthy going into the walk.
My best training advice for first timers, is to start walking about three months before the event and make sure you add hills into your training as there are quite a few on the Just Walk routes which can be quite a challenge, especially if it has been raining beforehand. Invest in some good quality hiking boots and socks as well; you need to look after your feet and keep them supported and protected from blisters. On the day itself, take it all at your own pace, start off at a leisurely pace and find your rhythm, but most of all - enjoy it! It is such a fabulous day with the stunning Sussex scenery all around you, wonderful people to talk to, and great charities being supported, you can’t help but smile and feel positive.”

“I like to walk by myself to start with, so I can find and set my own pace and then I usually meet people along the route to have a chat with. The great thing about this day is that everyone has a story as to why they are walking, so it’s nice to hear and it just makes you think ‘I’m so glad I did this; people are so kind and caring’. The atmosphere is really great, there is always someone to keep you company; last year I found someone to walk with and we crossed the finish line together, which was nice.
I’m quite impatient so although the walk isn’t a competition I am quite competitive with myself and usually finish in the top five of my group. My quickest 20km time was 3hrs 20 minutes, and last year’s 30km took me 5hrs 20mins – I am hoping to knock a half hour off that in 2017! Having said that, I don’t walk to get a personal best, it’s all about finishing the race for my chosen charity. If I can knock 5-10 minutes off my best time that would be an added bonus.”

“Every year I look forward to Just Walk and think that they won’t get any better but they do – every year beats the last one. I have so many touching memories especially over the last 10 years with people from all walks of life supporting and helping one another. This is why I think Just Walk is so special, it brings out the best in people and I for one, can’t wait for the 13th May next year to see what my 11th Just Walk has in store.”

We want to wish James the best of luck for his 30km Just Walk this year, we are sure he will be as amazing as always and can’t wait to hear all about it at the finish line – plus we’re already looking forward to celebrating his 70th birthday with him in 2019.

If you are feeling inspired after reading James’ story and would like to walk one of our Just Walk routes (you can choose 10km, 20km, 30km, 40km or the BIG 60km), then click here to find out more and book your place today.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Q&A with David, one our 60km walkers

Name: David Hawkins
Age: 80 years’ young


How did you first hear about Just Walk?
I have been walking for the last 10 years and initially started on the ‘Big Foot’ walks and then they told me about the Just Walk challenge. So, I looked in to it further, gave it a try and that was it, I have been hooked on the walks ever since.

What distance do you normally walk?
I always walk the 60km route and aim to finish around 9pm. I chose this route so I could have something to aim for, I find it’s also a great barometer check for my health. I enjoy long distances and setting myself challenging goals.
  
How many times have you taken part in a Just Walk challenge?
I have participated in Just Walk for the last 8 years and last year out of 75 people walking the 60km route I came in the top 25 – not too shabby! 

What made you want to get involved?
It started as I wanted to stay active and keep fit but having walked for so many years now I love the social aspect of the walk, making friends along the way and meeting lots of new and interesting people. I’m a bit of a rebel so also want to prove that age doesn’t mean anything, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

I also raise money for my local hospice when taking on these Just Walk challenges, it’s a great way for me to give something back. My daughter is a Macmillan nurse and last year she supported me on the walk, she waved me off at the start, met me halfway through the route and then was there at the finishing line which was so lovely to see. She also made me a scrapbook afterwards for my 80th birthday full of photos of me throughout the walk as well as messages and drawings from my family which I will treasure forever.

Who do you normally walk with?
I normally walk on my own so I can set my own pace that I’m comfortable with and then just chat and meet up with people as we walk along. The social aspect of walking was an unexpected surprise but is one of my favourite parts of the walk.

Do you do any training for the challenge?
Yes, I live in North Malvern, Worcestershire so I find walking along the stunning Malvern Hills ridge which keeps me fit. After Christmas and through to the date of the Just Walk, I walk to the ridge and back every week which is approximately 20 miles as well as walking with my local ramblers group. I also enjoy spinning classes down at my local gym, I like to stay fit and active as you can probably tell.

Do you have a top tip for anyone who has just signed up for this year’s event?
Train – you absolutely must do this so you are fully prepared, especially for the BIG 60km route. Include hill walking in your training as there are a few on this route and you don’t want to be caught unawares.

It is also worthwhile investing in decent kit, so walking boots and socks are essential and a  lightweight backpack. Don’t make the mistake I made a few years ago where I carried an excess weight in my backpack which caused me considerable problems.

What is your best memory from the day?
I have so many but one that sticks out in my mind is a memory from about 3 or 4 years ago where a group of soldiers (I think cadets) where walking the 60km route like myself and they shot off at the start, all guns blazing (not literally). About three quarters of the way around I found one leaning against a fence, he couldn’t walk and was saying he couldn’t finish. I spoke to him and managed to help motivate him to continue. We then came across 2 more of his group with cramp and serious blisters. Again after talking to them, we all continued together and I felt great pride watching them cross the finish line together arm in arm to the acclaim of the crowd.  I followed behind them at a discreet distance. They thanked me for my encouragement, and said that without my support they would have not finished.  

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

5 reasons to take on a Just Walk challenge…


We would love you to come and join us for a day of walking across the South Downs on Saturday 13th May and make every step count. It doesn’t matter what reason you have for signing up to the ‘Just Walk’ challenge, from a seasoned pro to a walking newbie, we will be right alongside you offering help, advice and support.

Here are our top 5 reasons to take on the ‘Just Walk’ challenge…

1.    For charity
If you have a cause close to your heart, then a ‘Just Walk’ challenge is a great way to raise funds and really make a difference. Due to the unique nature of our challenge once you have paid your event fee, any money raised after that goes directly to your chosen charity.

2.    Personal challenge
It’s time to take you outside your comfort zone and push yourself to your limit to see what you are really made of both physically and mentally. It doesn’t matter what distance you choose, there is something for everyone – a great chance to realise your potential.

3.    Fitness
Whatever your fitness level, walking is a great way to stay healthy and the benefits are endless. Not only will you see your fitness levels increase but it will also brighten your mood and boost your self-esteem. You could also join a walking group as part of your training which will be a great social factor too.

Top Tip: Wear a Fitbit or pedometer as part of your training programme so you can track the number of steps per walk and see how you progress over the coming weeks and months.

4.    Family time
Sometimes life is very busy and can impact on quality family time together. Taking up a walking challenge as a family is a great way to enjoy spending quality time together that will make memories to last a lifetime. Bonding over a unique and positive experience has also been shown to be very beneficial to your child’s mental and social development.

5.    Team building
Whether you are a group of friends, family or work colleagues, this challenge is a great way to build strong bonds and work together as a team. Supporting one another through the training, motivating each other on the day and achieving your goal as a group is a wonderful feeling of comradery.

Sound good? Interested? Ready and willing to participate?

Then what are you waiting for… sign up to the ‘Just Walk’ challenge today!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Twelve gifts of Christmas – Just Walk brings to you!


In the spirit of goodwill and festive cheer, here at Just Walk, we have decided to make this Christmas a little more special for you. Having called the North Pole and spoken to the big man himself, it would seem a lot of you are on the nice list, so to celebrate we have put together a few special offers for you, your friends, and your family to take advantage of between Monday 12th December through to Friday 23rd December 2016.

It’s really simple; each day from the 12th December and for the next 12 days after that, we will release an exclusive festive offer on our Facebook page (found here) that you can use to save money on your chosen route. Whether you are walking alone, with your family or as part of a group, there is something for everyone.

We understand that you may need time to pull together a team of people or rally your family together, so you will have 5 days to redeem the offer. Unfortunately if you do not redeem the offer within this time limit you will miss out, so please act quickly!

Take a look at the dates below, see which route you’ll be able to obtain an offer on, then from 9.30am on the 12 listed days, we’ll release the offers on our Facebook page, for you to redeem on our website (for group bookings, you will need to email us for a form)


Monday 12th December
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: A partridge in a pear tree
An offer on route: 60km

Tuesday 13th December
On the second day of Christmas, my parents gave to me: Two turtle doves
An offer on route: 10km (under 16’s)

Wednesday 14th December
On the third day of Christmas, my children gave to me: Three French hens
An offer on route: 10km  (over 16’s)

Thursday 15th December
On the fourth day of Christmas, my partner gave to me: Four calling birds
An offer on route: 20km  (over 16’s)

Friday 16th December
On the fifth day of Christmas, my granny gave to me: Five golden rings
An offer on route: 20km (under 16’s)

Saturday 17th December
On the sixth day of Christmas, my best mate gave to me: Six geese a-laying
An offer for a group of 6

Sunday 18th December
On the seventh day of Christmas, my nephew gave to me: Seven swans a-swimming
An offer on route: 40km  (over 16’s)

Monday 19th December
On the eighth day of Christmas, my sister gave to me: Eight maids a milking
An offer for a group of 9

Tuesday 20th December
On the ninth day of Christmas, my girlfriend gave to me: Nine ladies dancing
An offer on route: 60km  (over 16’s)

Wednesday 21st December
On the tenth day of Christmas, my grandpa gave to me: Ten lords a leaping
An offer on route: 30km  (over 16’s)

Thursday 22nd December
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Rudolph gave to me: Eleven pipers piping
An offer on route: 10km for a Family Ticket

Friday 23rd December
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me: Twelve drummers drumming
An offer on route: 20km for a Family Ticket


Merry Christmas everyone!

** Please email events@acrossthedivide.com for all group bookings and a booking form will be sent out to you to complete.



Next steps:

How do redeem the offer

For routes: Visit our website by clicking here, and when you register for your chosen route, the price will have already been changed so you can add that route to your basket and register straight away it is as simple as that!

For groups: Send us an email ASAP to events@acrossthedivide.com requesting a group booking form. We will send you a form, then you submit the completed form to us within the 5 days of the offer being released.   

Find out all the items included in your event fee here



Now for the less interesting, non-Christmassy, yet essential bits; here are the T&C’s:

·         Each offer will be released on our Just Walk Facebook page.
·         You will have 5 days to redeem the offer from the date it is published on Facebook. Unfortunately if you do not redeem the offer within this time limit you will miss it, so please act quickly.
·         The offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other existing offer. 
·         The discounts are as stated above; they cannot be exchanged, and no cash alternative is available.
·         Just Walk Across the Divide reserves the right to refuse redemption. 
·         ** Please email events@acrossthedivide.com for all group bookings and a booking form will be sent out to you to complete. 


Experiencing problems?
If you experience any issues whilst trying to redeem the offer, please double-check the date to ensure you’re within the 5 day time limit.

If you do not have any joy, you can email us at events@acrossthedivide.com with the route and offer you wish to redeem and we’ll look into this issue for you. Please note if it is very close to Christmas, we’ll be in touch after the festive holidays once we’ve rested our walking legs, but please be reassured, we will come back to you.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Walking 60km with 80yr old David

We’d like to introduce you to the inspirational David Hawkins. At the magnificent age of 80 years old, David has joined us on eight occasions always doing the 60km at our Just Walk events, meaning he first joined us at the mature age of 72!

Being out in the fresh air, chatting with new people he meets along the way, and keeping fit and active are what drives David on each year. Read on to find out about his greatest moments and the secrets to his success…

“I took up walking approximately 11 years ago after retiring from a period as a Local District Councillor where my busy schedule didn’t allow me the time to enjoy many hobbies. When I retired, I started walking a little bit everyday and soon found I really enjoyed myself. ’I decided to join the Leadon Vale branch of the Ramblers and managed to get elected as a Malvern Hills Conservator. I also became a walk leader for the Annual Malvern Walking Festival and the Herefordshire Walking Festival and so my newly found hobby soon became my passion. Most days now, I’m out walking or popping down to my local gym for my spinning class. I’ve always been quite a determined person and if someone questions if I should be doing something, I like to prove them wrong where I can.”

“Once I realised that I enjoyed walking, especially the longer hikes which suit my walking pace and style, I started looking for walking challenges to set myself a goal and have something big to aim for. I started walking with other organised walks and was looking for other challenges when I was recommended Just Walk. For the last 8 years I have taken on the Just Walk 60km route, I’m not going to lie it doesn’t get any easier and in fact the last year was my toughest, but I enjoy making new friends, walking across the stunning route and completing my personal challenge. The Just Walk challenge has given me the opportunity to raise substantial funds for many very worthwhile causes. In recent years it has been for a local Hospice where, my daughter, Becki was a hospice nurse but is now a McMillan nurse. It is a great way for me to raise much needed funds as well as give something back to my local community.”


“Even though I regularly cover many miles on a weekly basis it still takes a lot of preparation and training in the lead up to my 60km walk. I generally start my training just after Christmas, taking myself up to the ridge of the Malvern Hills near where I live in the West Midlands where I walk the 12 mile length of the Hills and back. The demanding undulating terrain provides an ideal preparation for the challenging Just Walk ahead especially the dreaded Bignor Hill. George Mullery carried out all his training on these in preparation for the attempt to conquer Mount Everest in 1924. I find it helps to train on hilly terrain to help prepare myself for the Just Walk event as it is very different to flat road walking for example.”

“It is important to train properly so come the day of the event you won’t have anything to worry about, and can simply enjoy the day. The atmosphere is truly amazing, with everyone socialising and talking to you so it doesn’t matter if you are walking by yourself (like I do), or if you are in a group, as everyone supports one another. I had my lovely daughter Becki and her friend Wendy come to support me last year, which was fantastic. They waved me off at the start line. They met up with me at the Arundel ‘Power Station’ then at the top of the challenging Bignor Hill and eventually at the finish. In 2015, the year before last I was surprised to be informed at the end of the walk that I had finished in the top 25 of the 75 walkers doing the 60 km walk. Last year I had hoped to exceed this achievement. To my surprise at the start of the walk to celebrate my 80th birthday the Just Walk organisers wonderfully feted me hence the 007 number. In view of this I was determined to do well and finish in a triumphant manner. However, things did not work out well. A long-term problem with my shoulders returned about half way around the course and I was really struggling and instead of finishing at around 9.30pm as the previous year I even struggled to finish by 11.00pm. Obviously, my daughter was very worried and wondered what had happened.”


“I look forward to my walk every year, and have so many fantastic memories from each one. One of my best memories was of the 60km walk I did a couple of years ago, where I saw a group of army cadets in their early twenties run off all guns blazing (not literally). About three quarters of the way around the route, I came across one of the lads literally hanging on to a fence saying he couldn’t carry on. Not one for giving up, we started chatting about Newcastle on Tyne, a common association we had and ended up walking around the course together. A little further on, we came across two more of his group, sitting down, complaining of serious cramp and blisters. After a few words of encouragement, we all set off again and continued on as a merry band of men. As we came to the home straight, I urged them to cross the finishing line together to huge cheers from the crowd whilst I followed at a discreet distance behind, and felt proud to have helped them to that point. It was a special moment when afterwards they came back to me and said “Thank you David, we wouldn’t have been able to finish the walk without you”. It just goes to show you that age is just a number!”

Will David be walking the 60km in 2017? He says “I’ll wait and see.”

If you feel inspired, and would like to walk one of our Just Walk routes (you can choose 10km, 20km, 30km, 40km or the BIG 60km), then click here to find out more and book your place today. 



Monday, 5 December 2016

We’re delighted to confirm First Days as our second Charity Partner


We are extremely pleased to introduce our other charity partner: First Days, an amazing children’s charity that truly makes a difference supporting those struggling to provide for their young families.

First Days rightly believe every child deserves the same start in life, so the team plus their volunteers work tirelessly to provide families in need with clothing, toys and even the essentials such as nappies, wipes and blankets.

There are currently 4 million children in the UK living in poverty, so for 2017 the First Days team are completing 4 million steps to help raise awareness and much needed funds for their very worthy cause.

Just Walk your chunk of 4 million steps, for 4 million children
First Days will be enlisting a group of 50 walkers to join them on the 13th May 2017, on our Just Walk challenge, across one of the most scenic parts of the English country side; the South-Downs.

Setting off from Goodwood Racecourse in Chichester, First Days charity walkers will cover 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k, or 60k whilst fundraising for First Days families, making them feel supported, comfortable and secure. 

Acting against child poverty
Unfortunately, poverty can affect us all, a change of circumstance; illness or loss of a job can very quickly lead to families finding it hard to make ends meet. This is where First Days do an incredible job of raising awareness for child poverty in the UK as well as taking action, collecting donated clothing; toys; equipment and furniture and redistributing them to families in need via childcare professionals.

With one in four children living in poverty in the UK, that’s 9 in every class of 30 children, now is the time to act and make it count. First Days admirable plan for 2017 is to raise enough money to buy new mattresses for every referred child, from new-borns to 6 years old, ensuring a safe night’s sleep for the little ones who need it. It is quite often the little things that we take for granted, this great charity acknowledges this and strives relentlessly to ensure these young families are supported and looked after when their need is greatest.

If you are feeling inspired and would like to make a difference, First Days would love for you to join their team on the Just Walk challenge.

To find out more, call Annette in our Challenge team on 01189 219 338 or email Challenge@firstdays.net.