Marchathon 2019 – Participant stories

The Marchathon Challenge 2019 –  Participant Stories – In My Shoes

Well where do we start – here at GMIT we had great entertainment during the Marchathon.  There was friendly banter between Mary Russell and Mike Creaven.  If you asked how many steps they had in any given day it was like FBI questioning – you had to swear never to repeat what you were told…..  or your life wasn’t safe. Mike is one of our Caretakers here on Dublin Road Campus and when Mary was walking to work she would have walked the long way round the campus to “build up the steps”  oh boy but if Mike was opening up and spotted her he would keep her company – no flies on him.  Friends for life and onsite entertainment for the rest of us, their fan club.Catherine Arnold, Galway Mayo IT

This challenge helped me in many ways. I was used to of coming by bicycle to my work place. But for this competition I tried to walk some times to my office, I really liked the morning walk beside the river. Now even the challenge is finished, I usually walk to office. Everyone in my team was so enthusiastic by the end of the challenge. The most important thing is it gave me a chance to interact more friendly with the people in my team. As I am not very talkative so before this challenge it was quite difficult for me to interact with the people who sits close to me. It gave me common topic to discuss with many people in the group. I like this challenge. I will participate in this challenge next year as well.Anonymous participant

I had gotten out of the habit of walking as regularly as I would have in the past.  In preparation for the Marchathon I bought myself a pedometer.  I walked as often as possible but realised that I had become more sedentary than was good for me.  While in Spain, I walked along the Mar Menor for 5km at 8am each morning.  For 10 days that was wonderful.  I found by the end of March, the habit had returned.  Yesterday’s steps – 10774! “Treasa Kenny, Maynooth University

I really enjoyed participating in the challenge, I think it’s a great idea and look forward to participating next time its on!! Organising walks during work is great, and we picked different team members from different sections!Alison Somerville, South Dublin County Council

I am a mature student in DCU St Patrick’s campus and also a mother of two small kids. My decision to try and increase my physical activity began back in Jan 2018, I was very overweight, very unfit and had very high cholesterol of 7.3. I began by making small changes in my diet and increasing my walking as part of my commute to college and in the evenings. In April 2018 I joined a local running group as part of a couch to 5K programme. This brought me back to doing parkrun most Saturday mornings which I had done in the past on and off. By 22nd Dec 2018 I reached by milestone 50th parkrun run!!  After reaching my fully jogged 5k, after the 8 weeks of a mixture of walking and jogging, I then moved on to tackle 10k and then 10 mile and completed two half marathons in August and Sept of 2018. For my birthday in Sept my husband got me a fitbit ionic and my life of counting steps began and I aim to do at least 10,000 per day.  On my mind during 2018 and part of my motivation during my struggle to regain some fitness was my sister in law in Ohio who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in March 2018. She had 12 chemo sessions and 2 major surgeries during 2018 and was thankfully deemed to be cancer free during the final weeks of last year. Molly is a positive and inspiring person who faced her illness head on with dignity, grace and more than a hint of humour. She also wears a fitbit and in fact following her final surgery had it attached to her dressing gown while finding her feet in the hospital corridors due to her wrists still having wires I believe!! She shocked me over Christmas when she announced that she was aiming for 2019 miles in 2019 and wanted me to take up the challenge also. I tried to talk her down to 2019km which would still be challenging but no she was all about the miles. Even with some long distance races booked included the Dublin half marathon and Dublin city marathon this challenge is HUGE!!!! Jan I did 130 miles, Feb dropped to only 100 miles and thanks to being in the MARCHATHON challenge for March I managed 162 miles. These are below where I need to be for 2019 miles but as I am lucky as a student that I will have almost 4 months off for summer holidays and so plan a very active summer with my children. When the email came in for Marchathon I felt it fit very well with my existing challenge of #2019in2019. I am the chair person this year of DCU’s mature student society so I challenge the other ladies on the committee with me to form a team! I was delighted when they did and Anna even had to buy a device to track her steps! We really did make a greater effort around college to use the stairs instead of the lifts and to have coffee breaks on the move instead of sitting on our bums! Audrey our third member walked one day from DCU Glasnevin to DCU St Pat’s in Drumcondra rather than moving the car up! I also used the ‘workweek hustle’ and ‘weekend warrior’ challenges on my fitbit app for the first time and challenged a number of my running group friends to that. This was all inspired by marathon. In one weekend warrior between 10 ladies we did over a 1/4 million steps over the 2 days that weekend!!! During March I also took up personal training sessions at a local gym. I do two strength and conditioning sessions and a spin session with the instructor per week and started on 4th March. Spinning is not a good one for steps of course but is a whole lot more fun than I expected and a great calorie burner and a good warm up before a run I found!!  Anna, Audrey and I (Aine) missed the opportunity to name our team the A TEAM!! We really enjoyed the challenge and felt the benefit of it. We felt the 297th place out of over 900 and 9th place out of 36 in DCU. We already have a target for top 5 in DCU for Marathon 2020 if there is one!! I just got my cholesterol results last week and its now down to 5.3 and I weigh 23lbs less than in the beginning of 2018. Much done, more to do!!!! Thank you so much for reading and thank you for the well run challenge. I enjoyed reading the weekly emails and leader boards etc. “Aine Reville, Dublin City University

Thanks for organising the Marchathon. I really enjoyed myself. I even went and got myself a new fitbit during the course of the month. It has  improved my motivation overall. I also realised that all the steps add up and it has encouraged me to get out and walk when I can. All those steps add up. Mary

Because I was a part of the Marchathon, my fiancé wanted to help me keep up with it so he started counting his steps as well! He even created an entire date for us that relied on me earning points for how many steps I took on the date. I had great fun with my teammates from the university stepping together! During the month we went to the Postgraduate ball and a Ceili together.” NUI Galway student

I decided to form a team to take part in the Marchathon as I had hit the point in my pregnancy when I could no longer run. I was used to running three times a week at lunchtime but in mid-February I hit my third trimester and it stopped feeling comfortable. I had a few weeks of feeling lost and not getting much exercise. As soon as I saw the signs around the office advertising the Marchathon, I knew I had to take part. My team might not have been in the top 10 within Symantec and I think my step count was the lowest out of the four of us but tracking my steps daily helped me to focus on walking as much as I could. I felt a lot better getting more steps in and trying to improve as the weeks went on. Thanks for giving me a great focus while I worked on keeping me and my baby active and healthy!” Ciara, Symantec

I would like to note that I was delighted to be part of a great team. We really got in to the spirit of things. Set up a wats app group to keep in touch and motivate each other with a small degree of competitiveness between us all.:) When we saw each others steps then there was a sense of achieving higher on the next day. This kept us stepping it out but also brought great fun to our team which we shared on the walks and during work with other colleagues within our work place. We are looking forward to it next year.  Great idea for March after the Xmas , to get us all back to exercise.” Anonymous participant

When I first looked for volunteers for this Marchaton I over counted and I had had asked my boss to join the team but then had to boot him off.  He quickly set up a rival team and then the hilarity set in.  I didn’t have a competitive bone in my body until I formed this team.  Suddenly we became super-competitive, whispering in offices, strategizing, trying to beat each other and outsmart each other every day.  He would wind us up with how many steps he had done at different points during the day and we were increasing our walking steps when possible (the furthest loo!).  He then went on the Camino (pre planned) for a couple of days and had the cheek to send me his steps for one day which were over 37000 steps.  It was then our job to neutralise his steps that week, so an extra half day to do some walking was taken by one member, a half day to do some more rounds of golf by another team member, and one getting up at 6.00am and marching up and down the village early in the morning and late in the  evening of  the last night to surpass his walking as we couldn’t let their team win.  One of the husbands became our lucky mascot as he marched his wife out again in the evening if she didn’t have enough steps done.  One of the team worked out some lunch time distances from work that could be utilised. Two of the team became stepfabulousstupendous. On the last day while our boss was flying home we wanted to ring Aer Lingus and ask them to leave the “safety belt” sign on so that he couldn’t be taking additional steps on the plane.  That’s how crafty our thinking became.   We did have both teams walking together at lunch time when possible, it became a great talking point and contributed to great camadarie and we will be having our “awards” ceremony this week for The most steps, The most improved , The least steps and The one great idea to neutralise our competitors.” Anonymous participant

 “My experience was terrific – back in 2016 (due to medical reasons) I wasn’t able to drive for a year and during that period I walked to work most days.  Of course once I got the car back I stopped that.  As part of the marchathon I started walking in to work again and realised how much I enjoy it.  It doesn’t take me much longer but I felt much more awake and refreshed when I reached the office.  In terms of ‘normal’ walking, I head out twice a week with  my neighbours but now this combined with my ‘work’ walks my steps have significantly upped due .  It has encouraged me to be more active and for that I am grateful.” Anonymous participant