Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Save the date: our 2018 walking challenge is back, bigger and better than ever before!

Grab your walking boots and start your training, as we are delighted to announce our Just Walk 2018 event is confirmed for Saturday 12th May 2018.

Now in its 12th year, our unique one-day walking challenge is back bigger and better than ever before including a few new route changes. Here are all the details you need to know:

The date: Saturday 12th May 2018
The venue: Goodwood Racecourse, near Chichester
The routes: 10km, 25km, 35km, 45km and the BIG 60km

Once again you can walk and raise money for a charity of your choosing (you pay the event fee and any money you raise goes directly to your charity), or take on Just Walk as your own personal challenge.

There are a variety of distances to choose from, so there really is something for every level of fitness. From 10km up to the BIG 60km, all routes take place across the stunning South Downs and West Sussex countryside, starting and finishing from Goodwood Racecourse.

As well as being a fantastic fun event for all the family to enjoy (our 10km and 25km routes are for all ages), we guarantee you will meet up with old friends from previous Just Walk events as well as making new friends along the way.

Prices start from just £15 and if you book by 30th November 2017 you can take advantage of our Early Bird discount!

If you are interested in joining in and having a great day, then click here to book your place today!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Well done & congratulations to all of our wonderful #JustWalkers!

Just Walk 2017 START

Well, what can we say about this year’s Just Walk 2017 event apart from a massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you; our Just Walkers, supporters and volunteers.

With a record-breaking 1,121 walkers registered for the challenge for our 11th year, you can all proudly say you really did “Walk the distance and made a difference”. Whether it was fundraising for a cause close to your heart, a special memory walk for your loved one no longer with us, or as a personal challenge on your own, with a friend or with a group - well done. Those of you who offered support and helped us sign walkers in, a sincere thank you from the bottom of our hearts; you really did help towards making the event run smoothly.

What an amazing day with lots of laughter, a few tears (of joy), new friends made, and many stories shared. The atmosphere throughout the day was incredible from start to finish. There was a real buzz around Goodwood Racecourse in the morning as everyone registered, chatted with other walkers and then gathered for the warm-up before setting off to enjoy the beautiful scenery that our Just Walk routes offer.

We witnessed real enthusiasm and comradery throughout the day, which helped many of you (including us) through the last 3km trek up ‘that’ hill and back to the finish line. It’s not until you look back down once you’ve reached the top, you realise just how steep that hill actually is and what an achievement it is to conquer!

Watching and cheering our walkers as they passed the final bend, down the home straight, and through to the finish line is one of our most memorable moments of the day, and each year it continues to grow bigger and better. We understand how much effort everyone puts in to this event, and the sheer joy and pleasure on your faces as you complete the challenge makes our job so worthwhile.

We hope your Just Walk medal is proudly on display and your memories are as fabulous as ours. We have now emailed over your Just Walk certificate, but if you haven’t received it, please email us, and we will send one to you.

We are already starting to plan for our 2018 Just Walk, so look out for our newsletter (you can sign up here), and announcements on our social media pages regarding a date.

p.s. Don’t forget to share your stories and photos…

We are loving reading through your comments and looking at your fabulous photos on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Please share your story and photos with us using the hashtag #JustWalk!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Super-duper volunteers needed please…

JUST WALK NEEDS YOU - man pointing at you

This is an urgent appeal to the early risers: we’re looking for volunteers… the super-duper kind!

The BIG day is just 5 days away, and we’d love more volunteers to help out in the morning.

If you’re planning to come down to Just Walk and support your friends, family or work team; it would be great if you could help us out in the morning first, and you’ll still have time to wave off your Just Walker, as well as see them at the finish line.

All we are asking for is a little help with a few light duties of meeting and greeting new arrivals, helping with the registration process, signing people in, and possibly a few other small jobs that often present themselves on the day.

So, if you’re an early bird and love the idea of mucking in, we’d love you to help us and your ‘superness’ will be rewarded with a FREE bacon sandwich and a steamy hot cuppa waiting for you upon your arrival.

Sound good? Interested? Ready and willing to put your super-duperness out there for the morning? Fabulous! For more information, please contact Kate or Gemma on 01297 300 504.

Join over 1000 walkers this Saturday – book your place today!

The wait is nearly over! Just Walk, one of the UK’s biggest walking challenges, will take place this Saturday 13th May at Goodwood Racecourse, Chichester. While we let that sink in, we’d like to remind you why we’re here and of the treat in store for you (or could be in store for you, if you sign up here – there’s still time!).

Organised by our global sister company Across the Divide, Just Walk allows you to choose the length of your walk – between 10km and 60km – in order to raise money for a charity or cause of your choice.

All of the routes are circular, and you’re offered the opportunity to explore the rolling hills and landscape of the West Sussex countryside, starting and finishing at the iconic Goodwood Racecourse, near Chichester.

Your entry fee for the day’s walk includes medals and certificates, logistical and medical support, drinks, snacks and plenty of encouragement and cheers from the Just Walk team.
Those of you who walk further than 20km will get a free packed lunch, while those walking further than 40km will be provided with a hot breakfast at the start. There will also be hot soup for those walking the 40km route and a hot meal for anyone walking 60km.

Why else should you Just Walk? Well…
Mark Hannaford, Head Walker and founder of Just Walk and Across the Divide, said, “Just Walk is about getting as many people outside and active as possible, while raising money for worthy causes, and that’s why we’re delighted to have had over 1000 registrations so far.

“With our team of organisers and helpers, walkers can be sure that everyone’s safe and well looked-after, and can focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

“It doesn’t matter if you walk 10km or 60km, it all helps, and you’ll struggle to find a better-looking part of the country for a challenge like this!”

Prices range between £20 and £70 for adults (depending on length of route) and £7.50 and £15 for under-16s.

Although you’re are free to raise money for whatever cause you choose, our two charity partners are particularly close to our hearts: Rockinghorse and First Days.

Tickets are still available for Just Walk 2017, so if you haven’t signed up yet, now’s your chance – just click here.

Rockinghorse works to improve the lives of sick children in Sussex, and First Days distributes clothing, toys, equipment and furniture to deprived children.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Our 5 favourite Spring walks to try this Easter

The Easter holidays are nearly upon us, giving friends and families more time to spend together to enjoy the sunshine (hopefully) and fresh air. These seasonal changes make fitness training far more pleasant and we can take great delight in some of the amazing Spring walks that the South East has to offer.

We’ve put together this handy guide to 5 of our favourite routes around South-East England covering West Sussex, East Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and London.

We’ve deliberately picked walking routes that come in at less than 10km, making them more suitable for younger families, varied fitness levels and ages alike, take a look and see… 

1. Explore ancient woodland whilst walking in West Sussex

Slindon Estate, West Sussex
Starting point: Eartham
Distance: 6km (3.8 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour 30 minutes (average)

It was pretty obvious that the South-Downs would feature on this list, it is after all the home of Just Walk, and this one is certainly one of our favourites for this time of year.

As the largest traditional estate occupying the South Downs, Slindon is a well traversed area. Starting at The George Inn at Eartham, this splendid walk around Nore Hill Folly really encapsulates the beauty of the South Downs, truly coming alive around mid-April time, when the bluebells bloom under the expansive canopies of old beach trees. Perfect training terrain.

For further information of this walk, please click here.

2. Walk amongst the Bluebells in East Sussex

Crowhurst Walk, East Sussex
Starting point: Crowhurst Railway Station
Distance: 5.5km (3.5 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour 30 minutes (average)

Crowhurst Walk offers a mix of scenery along its route, guiding you around the village of Crowhurst itself and through the ancient woodland reserve at Fore Wood. In spring, the Wood is a mass of bluebells, you might also see early purple orchids

Along the way, you’ll pass The Ancient Yew in Crowhurst Churchyard, thought to possibly predate the Roman’s – that’s nearly 3,000 years old! This area is also teaming with wildlife, particularly when you reach Fore Wood, owned by the RSPB; naturally, birds are the main attraction, and you can expect to encounter numerous species of woodpecker, moorhen, mallard and, if you’re lucky, kingfisher and grey heron.

Discover more about this walk here.

3. A walk for butterfly and dragonfly spotting in Hampshire 

New Forest, Hampshire 
Starting point: Hale Purlieu car, National Trust car park
Distance: 4.8km (3 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes (average)

Perfect if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, this route takes you in a figure of eight through Hale Purlieu, guiding you across streams.

With fantastic views overlooking the New Forest Northern Common’s valleys and mires, the area is home to various types of wildlife, so keep an eye out for flying insects like dragonflies, butterflies and birds like stonechats and Dartford warblers. From March to July its nesting bird season, so if you’re bringing your dog, be sure to keep it on a leash at all times. Also, be prepared to cross the shallow streams - waterproof boots will be needed.

Find out more about this route right here.

4. Walk across stunning woodland and heathland in Surrey 

Frensham Walk, Surrey
Starting point: Bacon Lane, Churt
Distance: 9.6km (6 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour – 3 hours (average)

Enjoy rambling through the heathland and woodland around the village of Frensham, taking in the beautiful views. This walk encompasses the two ponds of Frensham known as Great Pond and Little pond as well as interesting and unusual wildlife; sand lizards, Dartford warblers, nightjars, and plants such as the insectivorous sundew.

Stop for refreshments at Frensham Little pond, where you can fill up on tasty snacks and homemade cakes. Alternatively, there’s the popular The Holly Bush pub further into the walk.

Discover more about this walk here.

5. Walk a disused railway at London’s longest linear nature reserve

Parkland Walk – North West London 
Starting point: Finsbury Park, London
Distance: 5.5km to (3.5 miles)
Time to complete: 1.5 – 2 hours (average)

This walk offers an excellent opportunity to experience wildlife right in the heart of the city. Take in some alternative views of London whilst trekking the course of a railway that runs from Finsbury Park, through Alexandra Palace at the turn of the century.
Take a dawn walk here in Spring, when it is less busy and you’ll be greeted with the railway’s dawn chorus, a remarkable sound, and not one often heard in the city.

Learn more about this unique London walk here.

We’d love to hear from you and find out what your favourite walk is and where it is. Please feel free to comment on our blog… we may also share these on our social media platforms too (thank you in advance).

The Whole Kit and Caboodle…

You’ve booked your Just Walk place, your training is underway but how else can you prepare for the big day? 

A big part of being prepared for any physical challenge is making sure you have the right equipment for the job. Not only will it give you more confidence in taking part in the challenge; as the saying goes, you need to ‘dress for success’, but by having the right kit, it will ensure you are as comfortable as can be when taking part in the Just Walk challenge.

Using our experience of the event and speaking with our ‘Just Walker’s’, here are the essentials you will need to bring with you on the day:

What to wear on a long walk (kit check): 

Comfortable sturdy walking boots (rather than trainers), preferably waterproof. We recommend you buy the best pair of walking boots you can afford. They need to support your feet, keep them warm and dry, and most importantly they should feel comfortable! Now is the perfect time to buy them so you can train in them, and 'break them in' to minimise blisters on the day.
Thin lightweight trousers or shorts. Whatever you choose to wear, ensure you train in the clothes you will wear on the day to minimise friction burn and chafing.
Walking socks. Try a few options out first to see what suits your feet and boots. A good pair of socks absorb shock, help prevent blisters, regulate temperature and promote good circulation
Layers of clothing. At least two thin top layers, so you can adjust your temperature more easily.
A lightweight, zip-up jumper. A medium fleece top would be perfect and the zip-up enables you to adjust the airflow to your body.
Walking poles. A personal choice as to whether you will find these useful. Give them a go in your training programme and see how you get on with them, they can be very beneficial in hill climbing and descending.

Top Tip: Wear every item of clothing you are planning to wear on the day, on at least 3 training walks. There is nothing worse than an annoying label you discover a mile in to the walk!

What to carry on a long walk (useful items):

Waterproof jacket and trousers
Sunhat, with rim if possible
A couple of spare top layers including a warm fleece (see above)
Sun lotion / block
Spare walking socks
Water bottle or Camelback/Platypus style container that holds 2 litres (something that can be refilled at power stations)
Small first aid kit (plasters and Vaseline for potential chafing)
Mobile phone (fully charged)
Spare money, just in case
Snacks to sustain energy

Top Tip: Choose a rucksack that is lightweight yet strong. Padded shoulder straps and a harness that goes around your chest and stomach to give your back added support helps distribute the weight of items inside your bag, making it easier to walk and maintain energy levels.

Now you have your kit checklist (not including the kitchen sink) to get your prepared for the big day, it leaves us with just one last message…

“Good luck and enjoy!

We can’t wait to say hello to everyone and cheer you round the course, roll on Saturday 13th May!” 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Meet James: a veteran Just Walker with a moving story


Having just celebrated our tenth anniversary year, we decided to catch up with one of our veteran Just Walkers and find out what it is about the day that keeps bringing them back.
We caught up with 67-year-old James Kinsella, who kindly agreed to share his poignant story that inspired him to take on the Just Walk challenge; one of sheer determination, a big heart and an unwavering dedication to keeping on top of his game.

“Just Walk seemed like the perfect fit”

Just Walk (JW). What is it about Just Walk that first attracted you?
James Kinsella (JK). The main draw for me was the rural setting; I grew up on a farm in Ireland, which has given me a love for horses, farms and fields – it all holds a very special place in my life; my memories. Just Walk seemed like the perfect fit.

J.W. The South Downs certainly does sound befitting; how much of the beautiful scenery do you like to experience each year?

J.K. Well, I usually walk the 20k. This year [2017] though, I’ll be undertaking the 30k for the first time – I feel it’s time to push myself a little further now! Then the year after [2018] I’m going take the 40k challenge to celebrate my 70th birthday. 

J.W. We love your enthusiasm James… just how many times have you taken part?

J.K. So far ten times. I joined the first ever walk in 2006 and haven’t looked back! This year will be my 11th Just Walk and I’m determined to keep doing it for as long as I can.

“Life is far too short; get out there and engage with the world”

J.W. Many of our Just Walkers love to fundraise for charity; others just crave the personal challenge – what is it that drives your enthusiasm to Just Walk every year?

J.K. When I became semi-retired, I started walking to stay fit, healthy and active, but one of my biggest motivations is my grandson, Riley; he was born with a cleft palette and had to go through lots of operations at a very young age. Then, six years ago, he suffered a serious asthma attack and ended up in intensive care at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. The care and support their staff provided Riley and my family has made me eternally grateful to them all, so fundraising for their charity is enormously important to me.

I’m driven to give back to others, particularly my grandson, and that was spurred on after the death my brother. An avid walker and mountaineer, he climbed Kilimanjaro in Kenya years ago, but after collapsing, he passed away in a nearby town. That made me realise life is far too short; you should get out there and engage with the world.

J.W. Do you go with friends or family each year, or is it a challenge you prefer to do undertake alone?
J.K. I usually attend the event on my own – I can be a little impatient, which is why you’ll normally see me amongst the first 2 or 3 people. That said, it is nice to find someone that matches my pace and rhythm along the way. Last year I walked a large part of the route with someone else and at the end we crossed the finish line together.

“Competition isn’t important; charity fundraising is what really keeps me going”

J.W. Impressive! You must keep fit to keep ahead of the pack – do you use a clear training regime in the lead up to the big day?
J.K. Well, I walk all the time, usually 20 miles a week on average. But leading up to the event itself I increase my distance every week, up to about 35 miles per week. It keeps my fitness levels in good condition.

J.W. Has your dedication to your fitness improved your time over your 10 years of doing Just Walk?
J.K. My quickest time doing the 20k is about 3 hours and 20 minutes, though I don’t do it to get a personal best. I always hope to knock off 5 to 10 minutes from my best time, but competition isn’t important; charity fundraising is what really keeps me going.

“Training! It’s absolutely essential.”

J.W. Do you have any top tips for anyone who has just signed up for this year’s event?

J.K. Training! It’s absolutely essential. If possible, start walking around three months before the event, but certainly as soon as you can. Also, add in hills to your route – they really do push you, particularly if it’s been raining.

Also – quality hiking boots! Mine are around £140. You must look after your feet and keep them protected to avoid blisters. The right socks, too; good ones to absorb sweat and give you the right support.
And take lightweight, quality gear – you don’t want to be too weighed down on a long walk.

On the day, begin at a leisurely pace and get a good rhythm going. Most importantly, enjoy it; the scenery, the wonderful people and all the wonderful charities being supported. It’s such a positive day!

J.W. Thank you, that’s great advice! Finally, James, could you share with us one of your best memories from the day?
J.K. A couple spring to mind; I remember seeing a mum who must have been unwell with her 4 or 5 children, being taken around the course. Seeing them do it as a family, supporting each other and supporting a wonderful cause - that was really touching.

The other has got to be the first time I took part in Just Walk. I am so proud I did the first one and that I achieved it with so many happy memories. I surprised myself that I was so capable; I wouldn’t, and haven’t, missed one since.

J.W. Thank you very much for sharing your touching story with us James, it’s been an absolute pleasure. We look forward to seeing you once again on the 13th May 2017!

J.K. And thank you too - I look forward to it!


If you would like to show your support for James’ 30k walk this May, head over to his donation page and donate to the Evelina Children’s Hospital.

For more information on Just Walk 2017, including training advice, handy tips and up-to-date event news, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to book your place at the start line, sign up today!