Step Challenge

As with every year, the top teams are asked to share their step stories with us. Below, we hear from the Callous Bunions, Chasing Pavements and Spanish Steps. Congratulations to these teams that topped the 2017 Leaderboards and thanks for sharing your stories! Sounds like you  worked hard and had fun with a dash of blisters thrown in!

ESB’s Callous Bunions Team Story – Winners Desk Based Leaderboard

The Callous Bunions explained to the Smarter Travel Team how they accumulated their steps in the 2017 Step Challenge.

Team Member 1 admits he got ‘addicted to this challenge very early on I was mostly competing to beat my own scores and to move on from last year’s challenge’. An average week day for this member consists of – 11km walk to work and lunch time walks from 8km – 11km, adding to this he told us ‘I don’t sit at home, ironing, washing, carry items around the house to get additional steps then tennis or table tennis or basketball or football training… I am the Duracell bunny’. The challenge has not left him unscathed ‘I have had more plasters on my feet than I remember, shin splints, sore heels, the strangest feeling of numbness in my knees that I have ever had’. But he admits all is not lost and the positives far outweigh the negatives ‘it really decreases the stress of the commute from the leafy suburbs of south county Dublin to my workplace’.

Team Member 2 wanted to better her own record from the 2016 challenge where the team came third on the Leaderboard. Her normal day consists of a ‘walk to work & home a round trip of 14K then a lunchtime 30 minute walk. I work on the 4th floor and never take the lift & attend meetings between 3 buildings.’ For extras, she walks for 60 minutes at lunch which she said added 5k to her steps, took a longer walk home and walked again before the night was out ‘Basically I looked for opportunities to be on my feet as much as possible’. Weekends included hill walks ‘including Luqnaquilla, St Kevin’s Way, walk to Howth , over the head & back, Howth to Dunlaoghire and part back’. Finally Team Member 2 reflected on her own achievements ‘With 1.1.m steps I’m thrilled I beat my personal best & that the team did so well. We had some great craic along the way and kept each other going. I’m glad I participated & really glad the challenge is over.’

Team member three started his day 45 minutes earlier to get between 5000-6000 steps in with his dog before setting off to work on foot, an additional 7,500 steps. Working on the fourth floor, he had ‘10 flights of stairs up from the basement, eight flights down for a coffee’. Moving around during the day and attending meetings added anything between 3,000-10,000 steps. Lunchtimes consisted of walks between 30-60 minutes (4,000-9,000 steps). Extending the walk home in the evening was another trick before another dog walk to end his day. Reflecting on the 2016 challenge, gave them their target to beat ‘ After week one, we looked at last year’s winners from Coolkeeragh, who totalled 1,018,000 steps in the 2016 challenge and we set our sights on that’ . The challenge changed his perspective on travel and the impact on health ‘The car has had a good rest during this past month. It definitely teaches you that living in the city, you can definitely get by without a car, and whilst walking might take as long as a rush hour commute in a car, it is far better for your physical and mental health than sitting in a car going nowhere’.

In advising how to manage to get these steps, the team captain explained ‘As the Challenge is an averaging of your effort, we learned from falling short last year, that every team member must be daft enough to commit to the effort for the full 28 days of the challenge. It is relentless and there can be no let up, even for a single day …..I lost 3 kgs during the challenge, so I am definitely in better shape for all the effort.……. The team have definitely had great banter out of all this madness and we are all committed to continuing our active lifestyles, however, we might need to be ‘committed’ in a different sense if we were looking to improve on this effort in 2018!’

Chasing Pavements – Winners Non-Desk Based
The Step Challenge 2017 Non-Desk Winners were Chasing Pavements from Limerick City and County Council. Chasing Pavements are a team of three traffic wardens whose daily job has them walking the streets of Limerick City. The team captain explained that getting the extra steps in around their jobs was crucial to getting up the Leaderboard ‘One member walked to work and another has parked his car a good 20mins walk from work for this month. We all went for walks in the evening, stopped taking the lifts and took the stairs instead.’ Like many other teams, the dog was also on the challenge ‘My own dog really enjoyed the longer walks this month even on days off he was taken for two walks’. They too became avid ‘Beat the Street’ users, a free, fun game currently being run for the community of Limerick to see how far you can walk, cycle and run around the city. Finally, he admits the competition element took hold ‘After seeing the Leaderboard every week, we upped our game trying to catch the team in first place’.

Spanish Steps – Winners Best Improvers Leaderboard
Our Best Improvers prize category went to Spanish Steps from the ESB. Their significant increase in steps was thanks to a week-long trip to do a stage of the Camino de Santiago. Well done to the team of three, perhaps they can do another stage of it for the 2018 Step Challenge.

Congratulations to the teams and to everyone who took part – we hope to see you back next year!

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