As the year draws to a close, we’ve been beavering away here at Sport Walk Towers, working on our plans for 2019. We’ve been doing our thing here for the last three years – creating our own challenges, writing about Sport Walking and taking part in ultra events, to see how Sport Walking stands up. We’re convinced of the value Sport Walking can bring to the endurance sport and fitness landscape and now we want to start spreading the word, encouraging others to take it up.
To start this process off, we’ve identified a few key areas where we think some targeted work and promotion will help people to understand what Sport Walking is and what it can offer them, as well as making it easier and more rewarding for them to do it. And this is essentially our goal for 2019 – to begin building a framework around which Sport Walking can develop, grow and thrive.
Build a Sport Walking trail network
One of the key goals we have is to start to harness the potential of the existing way-marked trail network in the UK, which represents a massive potential resource for Sport Walking. These trails could effectively be ready made Sport Walking challenge routes, that anyone could take on regardless of their ability or map reading skills.
Now we’re not suggesting that Sport Walkers should not know how to find their way but the whole point of Sport Walking is to move fast along the trail and so using on the ground markings at junctions, rather than having to continually refer back to a map, simply means all that your whole focus can go into the physical effort of walking fast, just as you would in an organised challenge event.
Of course, where route finding is a key part of your own personal challenge then this doesn’t apply but for day to day Sport Walking and for general personal challenges, signposted routes are a great help.
The key issue though is that maintaining the way markings on these routes (and there are a lot of them) is a big commitment for local authorities or those who have responsibility for looking after them. So we want to help with this maintenance and to add Sport Walking route marks to certain specified routes, so that we can begin building a resource that will make it as easy as possible for anyone to go Sport Walking, to challenge themselves and to get physical and mental health benefits.
Promotion, promotion, promotion
Also in 2019, we will be starting to expand our promotional activity, explaining what Sport Walking is to the outdoors and sports media, as well as to local sports development bodies, in order to encourage participation. We’ll be starting to roll out our video operation on a regular basis, with a focus on routes and locations, helpful tips or training advice and gear profiles.
Try out sessions and events
We’ll also be looking to develop relationships that will enable us to run try out sessions and events that will enable people to try a Sport Walking challenge for themselves over a moderate distance. We have a route in mind and also a great venue, we just have to put all the pieces in place!
So, much to do but we feel confident that these three key elements – trails, promotion and events will really start to put Sport Walking on the map in 2019.