Imagine if the more you drove your car the more the mileage went down. You got better fuel economy, and yet it went faster. People started remarking on it, and come to think of it it was looking sportier than you remember it. It's a ridiculous fantasy, and yet when it comes to your body it's the reality. THIS is the adventure we're all about the embark on.
Welcome to your New Year's REVOLUTION!
My name is Guy and I'm the editor of Country Walking. I'm going to level with you. A little over a year ago I turned 40 and I was prepared for the rot to set in – ready for my belly to overspill my belt, to start saying “Ahhhh!” when I got up and sat down and begin ironing a crease into my jeans. But then I got started on #walk1000miles. At the outset, the thought of walking 2.74 miles a day seemed too trivial make a big difference. A few long hill-walks would see that average tumble and I would barely notice I was doing anything so effortful as a challenge. But actually, with kids and work and commitments I didn’t do all that many big hill-walks, and instead those many short walks formed the backbone of my walking year. On countless occasions I know my inner loafer would have arbitrarily vetoed lunchtime, evening or wet-day walks I ended up coming back feeling elated from. And all those little kicks up the bum amounted to the mightiest wallop. By the end of 2016 I felt fitter and just more generally well than I can ever remember – and I’d gone down two holes on my belt. I had discovered a huge (if scattered) community of fellow walkers who on a lot of things felt just like me. You're probably one of them. Welcome to your challenge, your group, and your amazing 2017.
Have you done this yet?
frequently asked questions
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
It's really very simple, as you'll see from the how it works page. All you do is walk an average of 2.74 miles a day in 12 months, and record those miles on a Progress Tracker sheet available with Country Walking magazine. In fact you don't even need to record your miles on our progress tracker (though there are reasons you might want to – see below). The 2017 challenge officially launches with a supplement in the February edition of Country Walking ('HOW TO WALK 1000 MILES AND WHY IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE') out on 5 January, with tons of advice and ideas as well as experiences from people who did the challenge in 2016, and a competition to win a gear makeover.
HOW DO I RECORD MY MILES?
Any way you choose: using a wearable activity tracker, an app on your phone (like OS Maps, Viewranger, MapMyWalk or many others), using a map and a piece of string or with the help of Google Maps. You can see what most people in our Facebook group are using by clicking here, and you can keep tabs on how your daily average target changes by using our instant mileage tracker on the challenge homepage. Just enter your total miles so far to find out how many you've got to average a day for the remainder of the year. (Tip: miles put in early on really help your motivation later in the year!)
DO I NEED TO SUBMIT/UPLOAD MY MILES ANYWHERE?
No. The main thing is you keep track of them yourself. But post in the group when you reach milestones and the amazing group member Susan Miller somehow keeps a track of it all and with her help we publish completers lists in the magazine periodically.
WHAT MILES / STEPS CAN I COUNT TOWARDS MY TOTAL?
This is an honesty-based challenge and not a competition and it's up to you what rules you apply to your challenge. Some people – particularly those starting from a lower fitness level – are counting every step while others are only counting planned walks beyond their everyday pottering. Others still count only the miles they cover with walking boots on – that's what people mean when they refer to 'boots on' miles. It's up to you.
IS THERE A LEADER BOARD?
No. #walk1000miles is not a race to the finish and the only person you are competing with is last year's version of yourself! Your milestones will be celebrated by the community as heartily whether it's 10, 50 or a multiple of 100 you're hitting. The main thing is surprising yourself not impressing anyone else – but we're pretty sure you will do both!
ARE THERE ANY REWARDS?
Oh, only your fitter, happier, sleeker new self! But having said that, if you've signed up and got a progress tracker you'll be eligible for multiple competitions on the challenge homepage, in the monthly newsletter and in the magazine. You will also be able to download free completion certificates, and buy challenge merchandise like the cool stuff we had in 2016. There are also badges (pins if you're from the US) which declare your participation and which have proved highly covetable! There will be 1000 given away free to holders of the March issue (out 2nd Feb) and they will be sold soon after.
WHERE DO I GET A PROGRESS TRACKER?
The Progress Tracker is available inside the back cover of the January, February and March issues of Country Walking and will continue to be available via download using a code in whatever is the current issue of the magazine.
WHY DO I NEED A PROGRESS TRACKER?
We've found the Progress Tracker addictive to fill in, and it gives a real sense of common cause, but perhaps as importantly you'll need to upload a photo of your progress tracker to enter competitions to win gear from our partners. This enables us to stop professional competition-enterers winning prizes when real #walk1000miles challengers deserve them!
I'M NEW TO THE FACEBOOK GROUP AND I'M SHY! I'M SURE MY QUESTIONS WILL HAVE BEEN ASKED LOTS OF TIMES BEFORE SO SHOULD I STAY QUIET SHOULDN'T I?
NO! There is now a year's-worth of experience in the group and everyone is delighted to help each other out. Talking is good! Saying that a question had been answered before would be a serious breach of etiquette and would never happen anyway as I'm pretty sure this is the nicest group of people on the internet! Please don't stay quiet. And now the group is so big, posting and commenting is the best way to stay involved in conversations and make friends – there is too much going on to keep track of every single post and person.
WHAT'S A BADGER?
In 2016 we gave away and later sold over 2000 'I'm doing it!' challenge badges. Someone at some point decided people who wore them should be called 'badgers'. Later, some of them started meeting up for the occasional walk, which was fun, and they're still happening. We will make 2017 badges available via Country Walking soon if you'd like to be a 2017 badger! (And by the way, if you see any other words or references you don't understand do ask: we don't want any exclusiveness here, all are welcome on any in-joke!)
WHO'S BEHIND THIS?
Country Walking, which is the UK's best-selling walking magazine and which has been continuously published every month for the past 29 years. (It makes a great challenge companion: if you subscribe now you also get a year's free access to Ordnance Survey's mapping for the whole of the country on your phone, tablet and computer, worth £23.99.)
I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS!
Head to this 'pinned' post, always available at the top of the group's home page and post your question.
You're reading this but haven't signed up yet? No problem!
Subscribe to Country Walking and get three issues for a fiver!
Yay for pledges!
We love pledges because they're a great way of saying hello to your fellow 1000-milers, but more importantly they are devils to back away from once signed (although please note, good reasons for not completing your challenge do exist!). This is just a fraction of all the pledges we've seen soon far. Do yours now.
10 of the most popular posts of the year
In a year when over THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILLION likes were cast in the friendliest Facebook group on the internet, these posts stood out for extra love.
December's window on the world
Every month thousands of photos are posted in the Facebook group giving us a gorgeous window on the walking world across the country and beyond. Here are just a few that caught our eye in December.
Quick links to bookmark
done your 1000 or 500 miles in 2016?
Well done you! We've got just thing to celebrate your achievement: one of our official mugs, t-shirts or hoodies. Click the t-shirts (top row) to see 2016 1000-mile gear collection and the mugs (bottom row) to see all the 2016 500-mile merchandise.
Don't miss the official launch magazine FREE with the Feb issue, out 5 Jan.
Click the pic to see your buying options.
2016 completers list
Click the pic to see a list of all the declared confirmed 2016 completers from the Facebook group, as of 22 December and compiled by the indefatigable Susan Miller. That's 1,041,820 miles!
and finally... a christmas message from the queen!
Pamela Wright Brogan, 2016 500-mile completer and at 80 the most senior member of the 1000-mile challenge in 2017, has this message for her fellow challengers. (PS - there'll be more of Pam in the issue out 5 January.)
Psst... Don't forget to bookmark the challenge homepage to use the handy daily average miles calculator from 1 Jan and stay up to date with the latest news.... >>>
Psst again: want to show your friends what #walk1000miles is all about? Share the video that does just that by hitting the blue button below (you'll have a chance to type an accompanying message in or leave it blank):