On Saturday May 12th, 15,000 participants will power walk their way through the streets of London wearing an incredible array of decorated bras and costumes. Amongst them will be team ‘T it Works’ from Imtech Aqua Ltd, who since mid-February have amassed an incredible 2414 training miles between them; that’s the equivalent of walking to Turkey!
To train for the big day, T it Works have been pioneering a new approach to getting healthier with the support of Huntingdon-based Activ8rlives.com. The company has provided a Buddy step counter for each participant linked to a dedicated social network group so that they can keep each other motivated.
Front from left: Heather Saunders, Denise Barrell, Nicky Barrett, Zoe Morgan Back from left: Sally Boyle, Alicia Burrows, Sandra Peckham, Linda Sancaster, Nicky Chalklin.
The MoonWalk is a first for many of the team. “You don’t quite realise how far a mile is until you start training,” says Sally Boyle. “When you get in your car and measure out half a marathon or 13.1 miles, suddenly you realise what you’ve signed yourself up for!”
The MoonWalk raises money for breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, which as the name suggests, takes place overnight with no running or jogging allowed. Participants can choose to complete either a full marathon or half marathon, but all wear brightly coloured bras to raise awareness of the illness.
Walking at night is gruelling even for the experienced, so newbees need every help they can get. The Buddy step-counter is a high-tech pedometer that not only records the number of steps taken, but also the amount of time spent active and can calculate both the distance walked and the number of calories used. Using the USB connector, data can be transferred to a personal account on Active8Rlives.com, allowing each of the participants to monitor their progress, both individually and as a team. Members can also post messages of support to one another.
Dr Kevin Auton PhD, Director at Activ8rlives.com, explains that the social aspect is really important to keep up motivation.
“Lots of people sign up to a gym in the New Year and stop going by February. Doing something in a group or with friends makes all the difference because it makes exercise part of your life.
“The MoonWalk is great because it gets women that have never done a marathon before, training together; so we were really keen to support T it Works. The Buddy step counter gives tangible evidence that they are getting fitter and uploading to the social network gives them an extra incentive to be active and support the team.”
Alicia Burrows agrees and says that training with colleagues has made all the difference;
“Training together and using the site has definitely spurred us on. Everybody has different peaks and troughs in their training and this way we can really support each other. Being pushed up a hill is always a great help!”
Since first receiving their Buddy step counters in mid-February, the average number of steps taken by each of the Imtech Aqua ladies has increased from 5867 a day to over 10,000. The total number of steps walked by the team in this time is just below six million, with over 200,000 calories burned!
On the big day, nine of the ladies from Imtech Aqua will take part in the half marathon while Sandra Peckham and Nicky Chalkin have decided to tackle the full 26.2 miles. Sandra, the MoonWalk veteran of the group, explains why she thinks this event is particularly special.
“I think each of us has been touched by breast cancer in one way or another. Some of us have friends who are going through treatment at present. The atmosphere at the event is fantastic and the money raised supports breast cancer projects across the UK.”
“We are so grateful to Kevin and all those who have sponsored and supported us. Imtech Aqua donated half of our event entrance fee and Motiva have loaned us a minibus so that we can get to and from the MoonWalk together. We even have a male colleague, Martin Leach, who has volunteered to be our chauffer for the night.”
Kevin is delighted with the team’s achievements and believes that encouraging families to be more active is fundamental to reducing the incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in the UK.
“The important message is that keeping healthy and staying well isn’t only about weight loss, it’s also about being fit. Finding time during our busy days can be a challenge, but by working in an online group, we can give support to others and be encouraged and supported in return. This keeps the motivation going.”
To create your own training team with Activ8rlives.com please contact Kevin via the website. If you would like to support the group, you can make a donation.
Written by Rachel Holdsworth