The One Thousand Kilometre Walking Challenge

Summer is a time for many things—working in the garden, lying in the sun, going on road-trips. This summer I decided to set myself a walking challenge. I walk every day, but I thought a challenge would help me walk more consistently.
Back in May, I came across my cousin’s Facebook post about the walking challenge he set for himself. I thought, what a great idea. My IPhone counts my steps, so I’ve been using the Health app to keep track of all my walking—whether it’s to the mall, to the train, on the treadmill, or just Out there walking.
My goal is one thousand kilometres by September 22. Thus far, since May 23, I’ve clocked six hundred eighty-one kilometres.
I’ve thought for years that Edmonton is too much of a car-town. As a pedestrian, parts of this city—depending on where you need to go—are practically inaccessible. Edmonton has a decent transit system, but the bus or train can’t get you everywhere—at least not in a hurry. And some places, not at all.
When my daughters are home, I have the luxury of a car. Much of the time, I rely on foot and transit. Edmonton is reasonably accessible, more than most cities in other parts of the world. I can’t speak for people using wheelchairs or walkers, but as someone married to a white cane, Edmonton isn’t bad. The endless construction, of course, is an obstacle for everyone.
If you want to set yourself a challenge this summer, make it a walking challenge, or even a pedestrian challenge. Walk and take transit for a week, and see how fast your life gets reorganized. Even if you just make an effort to walk more, you will be better off.
And as you fight the rush-hour traffic and the road-rage, watch out for pedestrians. According to a City of Edmonton website, on average, three hundred people in Edmonton are hit by motorists each year, and most of them in crosswalks.
I’ve had many close calls with vehicles, some of which ended in my cane getting mangled by a car. I’ve always thought my cane makes me more visible to drivers—but not always. Enjoy the remaining days of summer, and embrace the slow life by walking whenever you can.

2 thoughts on “The One Thousand Kilometre Walking Challenge”

  1. I stopped driving a few years ago, but as you know I live in an ideal location, the Garneau neighbourhood in Edmonton for on foot access to services, entertainment, and the transit system. I stopped driving to save money, to alleviate stress to myself, and to demonstrate that a car is not always a necessity for a full and happy life. I also lost much of my night vision some years ago and this restricted my driving. My day vision is fine and I recently passed the basic eye sight test to drive. A few years ago, I heard of a man in his eighties dying in a car accident and also injuring others; I thought it might be a good idea for me to give up driving while I am winning. I’ve recently renewed my driving license for ID purposes, so I could still drive if I wanted to although at the age of 75, I might give up my license.
    Sometimes I do joint activities with friends who have cars; in return, I help these friends and other friends in ways that I can; this builds a little bit of community. Often drivers want a companion for shopping, visiting the dog park, or a road trip, and I fit the role. I also take the occasional cab. My roommate and closest friend, Gayle Faszer, does not have a car either, so we are a household without a car.
    I do not feel restricted in any way and there is really nothing that I cannot access by public transport, cabs, or with friends. I don’t ask friends for special favors as regards rides but often with friends we go on joint activities, as mentioned above; for example, a close friend with a van recently mentioned that he was going to Canadian Tire to pick up a list of items. I also needed a heavy item that I could not handle on the bus, so I asked if I could tag along with him.
    I’m interested in the 1000 kilometre challenge, but I am out of town at the moment without a pedometer. I’ll see if I can pick one up today.
    I guess aqccept the challenge!

    1. Hi Graham. Thanks for your comment. You are fortunate to live in a pedestrian neighbourhood. Edmonton isn’t always a pedestrian-friendly city. I’m glad you are managing your life without a car. That too can be tricky for many people. It also sounds as though you have a good companion for walking.

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