What’s Your Everest?
As you will already know if you read my blog or follow me on any social media, I am an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion this year. It’s an amazing honour and I’m very proud to be amongst such an inspiring group of people. Last week I went along to a hotel in the New Forest to meet my fellow champions and be part of the 2017 campaign launch.
I have mentioned before how even though I was so excited when I got the email, it was also quite daunting. As I sat there in that room full of adventurers, mountain climbers and outdoor heroes, I did feel like a bit of a fraud. However, as the day went on, I realised that I do have a part to play and there’s a reason that I was chosen.
I think that it is incredibly important that ‘normal’ people are represented in the GetOutside campaign. People like me who live in urban areas and have limited budgets, time and equipment.
It’s a sad fact that levels of physical activity are frighteningly low across the UK. For example, this survey reports that a quarter of adults walk for less than an hour per month, while children are reported to spend ‘less time outside than prisoners’. With this backdrop, it is more important than ever to have GetOutside champions that the public can relate to.
As part of the 2017 GetOutside launch, Sean Conway spoke with passion and humour about his World’s Longest Triathlon, and it was a joy to listen to him. His enthusiasm and love of Britain was inspiring and contagious. For a brief moment I felt decidedly inadequate. Afterall, for a good proportion of my outdoor adventures I don’t get further than my local park, while others push their bodies and minds to the limit.
Then it occurred to me. Somebody who walks a matter of minutes per month isn’t going to suddenly run from Land’s End to John O’Groats. But they might just, with a bit of encouragement, go for a walk down the road, or start taking their children to the park more regularly. Simply spending more time outside can easily become a habit. A healthy, enjoyable, rewarding habit.
And this is the point of my post. Do not compare yourself to others. By all means be inspired by them, admire them and learn from them. But take your own path.
In the spirit of 2017 being a year of inspiration and getting outside, I have set myself a challenge. It’s not Everest, but it’s my Everest. I’m going to do a 50 mile sponsored walk in a day (more details to follow). For me, it is the longest walk I’ve ever attempted and it will push me. It’s a route that I’ve wanted to do for a while, although until now I’ve never considered doing it all in one go. Life is too short to do things by halves.
So what’s your Everest? Maybe you’ve always wanted to do a 5k or a 10k run, maybe you want to give camping a try or maybe you just want to learn how to ride a bike. Make 2017 the year you conquer your mountain.