Why I WALK IT: Freestyle 10k

10 June 2020

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After a difficult year with Crohn's last year, Connor was all ready to sign up for WALK IT Edinburgh 2020 when he received an email about My WALK IT instead. Already a keen walker, he knew that he would have to take on this challenge and was surprised to find out how easy it was to get involved.

I was diagnosed in October 2018 and last year was a really bad year for me as we tried different medication and I got used to living with Crohn's. Now post-surgery and living with a stoma, I was looking forward to WALK IT and when I found out it was going to look different this year, I thought I'd better get on and do a virtual one instead.

Walking is something I've always enjoyed and have been doing daily in lockdown, as well as moving some gym stuff into my garage to keep fit that way. I thought it would be good to do a longer walk than usual and planned to do it alone, with my headphones in and a podcast on, so I set up my JustGiving page and sent the link to my two best mates. On seeing it, they said they wanted to do the walk with me so that was that and we completed it with one other friend as a four, sticking to social distancing by keeping 2 metres apart.

One thing I struggled with was finding an app or website that would map out my route for me ahead of time so I set up Strava with my Apple Watch and decided to wing it. The River Clyde runs right through where I live so we walked along the river, keeping an eye on my watch which pinged every time we'd walked another kilometre. At 5k, we circled round and walked back to where I'd met my mates that morning.

I also sent my page to my family and some group chats I'm a part of, including a football club with 40 people, so I knew I'd hit £100 pretty easily but never thought I'd get to £1,000!

One of my mates saw my total and text me saying "I can't leave you at £956" so he donated £44 to round it up. I was really grateful for that.

If you're unsure about whether to do My WALK IT, I would say 100% you should go for it. There's plenty of places you can go and walk. Even if you don't want to go a long way from home, you can do laps of a park or your garden and keep going til you hit that 5 or 10k. I was sceptical at first, thinking "how do I set up a page?" and "how do I send in evidence?" but it's really easy and so smooth. Two clicks and you're sorted. Once you've entered, that's it until after the walk and sending the evidence is really easy too. There's no reason not to!

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