For the first entry of our "Why I WALK IT" blog series, we spoke to Donna about how her family's plans changed when My WALK IT was announced and why it might benefit local communities to see WALK IT on their doorstep.
We had done WALK IT before and had a really nice time so we registered for the 5k in London as soon as the 2020 dates were announced. Our children, Alys and Thomas, both wanted to do it again and we were excited to see the new venue and explore a different route to the first time.
When it was post-poned it seemed like a temporary precaution - no-one knew what the pandemic would end up being. When it was then cancelled we had raised a lot of money so naturally we wanted an alternative to make sure it all still went to Crohn's & Colitis UK! My WALK IT seemed like the perfect opportunity and it also allowed us to take on a longer walk than we'd originally planned.
The flexibility of My WALK IT meant we could do 10k, spread over two days, which was really wonderful.
Alex and I had already booked half-term off and the weather was lovely so we took advantage and did it during that week. Our oldest, Thomas, has Colitis and is shielding due to his risk level so it was really great to be able to do it in our own time and we picked locations that we knew wouldn't be heavily populated. This was our local park where we've been doing daily exercise so we walked all the way around it and went a bit further than usual to make up the 5k. For the longer route we were well stocked up with drink and supplies, especially for Alys!
As well as the walk, we did everything else we would have done for a WALK IT event; we donned our t-shirts, the kids wore their wrist bands and we made sure everyone knew what we were doing and why. A few people from the local area asked what we were up to and we explained, which even got us a £10 donation from one passerby! That was lovely. I think walking in our t-shirts meant that people locally got to see what we were up to, which they wouldn't have done if we were in London. It's great for awareness and means communities all over the country are being exposed to WALK IT.
Sponsorship has carried on and is still growing, thanks to a mention in the school newsletter as an "Achievement of the Week". Alys and Thomas plan to take their medals in for show and tell too, once we receive them and school resumes.
I would highly recommend My WALK IT to anyone who can. We've all got to exercise and the gyms are shut so why not do your normal daily routine but pop on a t-shirt and go a bit further than usual. It's all for charity and doing it in your local area might get attention from people who don't see these things everyday.