Walk the walk

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When most kids think of a day of fun, walking the length of a marathon may not be the first thing that comes to mind. For a group of five Westville girls, they took the idea as a challenge and set out to walk the length of a marathon in one day around their hometown.

The group of 12 and 13 year olds heard of the idea from a friend who had done it previously and thought that it might be a cool way to spend a day together and spend some time outside.

“One night we just decided to walk a marathon,” laughed Gina Ingram, 13.

The girls have gone on walks together before, covering five kilometres and walking from their neighbourhood just past the Walter Duggan school to the Needs Convenience store sometimes just for fun. Corinne Cameron, 12, shared that their goal for the day was just to have fun, get the kilometres in and not get sunburned.

In total, a marathon measures 42.1 km which ended up being challenging for the girls but in the end they were proud to say they made it. With lots of streets to pick from, the girls walked around Westville beginning with a 10 km planned out route, added Josie Ingram, 13, who took part in the walk. After they reached the end of their planned route they continued on walking through Westville whichever way they felt and even made stops near friends’ houses and at parks.

“The last kilometer,” smiled Vanessa LeBlanc about the best part of the whole event. With high temperatures and lots of sun out the day when they set out, it proved to be a long day for the girls who shared that it was very hot and they had been applying sunscreen about once an hour and stopped a few times for snacks along the way as well as pizza to help them refuel. Although they thought about quitting mid-day they decided to push on and finish the whole walk.

“The end was pretty cool, we had a finish line,” said Gina Ingram.

Some of the girls’ mothers held a ribbon across the finish mark for their walk. The last few laps they walked were around a neighbourhood loop and the girls added while laughing that they even took off their shoes for the last lap because it had been a long day and their feet were hurting.

“I don’t think they thought we were going to finish it,” Josie Ingram said and the rest of the girls agreed about their parents’ thoughts on the endeavour. The teens proved their parents wrong, however, as they walked across the finish line.

“We were just happy to sit down,” said Josie Ingram.

The group shared that they have been thinking about doing it again, but not for a while. They are looking at possibly trying again next year and are hoping that it will be even more fun now that they know what they should bring and other helpful tips. Having left at 8 a.m. and returning at 9 p.m. the walk was an all-day affair and they admit that it is much harder than you would think. During their walk they realized that Westville is quite accessible for walking and other than the heat they had no issues.

“You feel good when you’re done,” said Cameron about completing the walk.

Her friends added in that it was also a good way to get fresh air and some exercise.

Michael Thompson, Westville’s recreation director, had lots of praise for the girls’ efforts.

“I think it’s so cool for several reasons: it definitely shows how “walk-able” Westville is; it demonstrates that Westville is a “safe” community for youth; it’s an example of youth taking the initiative to head outdoors; and their parents supported this little adventure.”

A group of Westville girls took on the challenge of walking the length of a marathon in a day and encourage others to try it as well. From left are: Corinne Cameron, Vanessa LeBlanc, Josie Ingram, Sarra MacInnis and Gina Ingram. (Brimicombe photo)