Sport Walk is the home of Sport Walking – a type of trail walking that’s all about moving fast and taking on challenges.
Whether it’s taking part in organised challenge events like ‘Race to the Stones’ or ‘Oxfam Trail Walker’ or your own personal challenges, if you’re walking with a purpose (normally on trails) and have a goal that you want to achieve (whether it’s a time goal or simply to survive until the end), that’s Sport Walking!
Sport walking is not a fixed prescriptive style, format or technique like Nordic Walking, Race Walking or Power Walking. You can ‘Sport Walk’ any way you like because it’s not about how you walk, it’s about the challenges you set yourself and how well you perform against these challenges that matters. Challenge is important and central to everything because that’s where the sport lies.
Our motto is ‘Move fast, go light, challenge yourself’ and this perfectly sums up what Sport Walking is all about. Move fast – speed is the aim, to walk the challenge route in the fastest time you can. Go light – stripping back traditional walking attire and equipment and adopting lightweight alternatives. Challenge Yourself – pushing your boundaries and testing yourself.
Sport Walking is fantastic for discovering what you’re capable of and feeling fulfilled but it’s also a superb way of getting or staying fit on a day to day basis. It can be superb long distance training for runners, provide fitness walkers with a tangible structure and goals to stay motivated and turn a weekend walk into a mini adventure.
At Sport Walk, we’re working to develop awareness of Sport Walking and to build participation. Our aim is to create a community of Sport Walkers that is similar to the community of trail and ultra runners, where the warmth and support they all have for each other has truly turned this sport into one of the fastest growing ‘free sports’ around.
We see Sport Walking as having immense potential for recreation, for mental health and wellbeing and for physical fitness. The nature of trail challenges makes Sport Walking a phenomenally powerful activity in terms of building personal resilience and mental toughness, while the testing terrain is ideal for building muscular endurance.
But the most powerful aspect of Sport Walking is that it’s built on something that almost everyone with a love for the countryside already does – going for a walk! The only difference between a country or hill walk and Sport Walking is that when you’re Sport Walking, you’re seeking to travel quickly over the terrain and to complete your route in a time that will make you feel proud. You’re not denied the pleasures of country walking when you go Sport Walking – the scenery and landscapes still pass you by slowly. All that changes is your focus and sense of purpose. The trail is no longer just a path along which you wander aimlessly, it is the focussed route to fulfilment and a deep sense of achievement.
To complete a route in a time that you’re proud of, regardless of distance, is a hugely rewarding achievement, as anyone who has ever reached the end of a 100km test like Race to the Stones will attest. It changes you. It gives you a sense of personal potential that is almost unrivalled.
These are the aspects of Sport Walking that we believe offer the greatest personal value to people and we want to get as many people challenging themselves and taking on challenging Sport Walks as possible. This is why we create our own Sport Walking challenges, why we’re mapping out challenge routes of various distances and are logging all the way marked trails in the UK. Because, though experience, we’ve learnt that people only need to be shown how to get started, once they try it, they’re hooked.
Once you’ve discovered that you can achieve way more than you ever thought you could. Once you’ve walked further than you thought any sane person ever would. Once you’ve struggled, sworn, cried or possibly sat down at the side of the trail wishing it were all over but carried on, one step at a time to finish your challenge and achieve your goal. Nothing else in life will ever seem impossible again.
Sport Walking is about walking briskly, purposefully, quickly. It is about travelling through the landscape following your personal goal. It is about becoming fitter, stronger, more resilient. It is about discovering the real you and realising your potential. It is about all these things but above all else, it is about learning that no matter what life throws at you, you can withstand it and come out smiling!
Read about our plans to develop and grow Sport Walking here. If you’d like to advocate for Sport Walking we’ll be launching our ‘advocate program’ soon.