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Get to know some of our SMCT walking champions

24 October 2022
A composite image of photographs taken by SMCT staff during the 'Walk for Wellbeing' walkathon initiative

This October, 87 SMCT employees began a virtual journey across Hawaii in honour of Mental Health Month. Our ‘Walk for Wellbeing’ initiative has proved to be an exciting and close challenge, with several of our front runners (well… walkers!) crossing the finish line this morning.

We reached out to some of our most motivated and dedicated competitors to find out how they have found the experience so far, and to help us gather a few tips and tricks for those that are still completing their journey.

‘The challenge has been tough at times, especially when I had a week off on annual leave as I get most of my steps up when working in the Horticulture team on our grounds. So, my advice to anyone wanting to keep fit is join us in the outdoors teams!

My wife and kids are overseas at the moment so I’m on my own doing the challenge but have been keeping active looking after my new pet chickens as unfortunately Mr Fox got to my previous ones. I will definitely be keeping up my steps after the challenge is over as I find it to be great for my mental and physical health.

I do have to admit that I was getting a bit slack as we all seem to do through winter, but this has motivated me to be on the go again. I love the Activate Health challenges, so keep them coming please! It’s great to see the indoor teams out on the grounds walking around and taking photos of how beautiful we make the sites look.’

- Andrew McCaw

‘I’ve decided to do the walking challenge again this year to help me deal with stress and lose some extra kilos. It’s been a stressful year with work and personal life, so doing the challenge helps me keep my mind busy. I’m lucky that my partner enjoys walking and he will always come outside with me. We enjoy that time together and get to talk more while walking.

I’ve also been sharing the journey with friends (and colleagues),Lise-May and January. The most challenging thing so far is waking up early (5.30 am) so I could get some kms before starting work. I’m not a morning person so it’s been a bit hard, but I’m not a quitter and like a bit of competition too. And yes, I’ll be continuing my walking journey after October ends but not the morning walks (preferably just the afternoon ones).’

- Necca Vacher

‘When my personal trainer asked me to increase my 2,500 steps a day to 5,000 back in August, I thought it was going to be impossible. But here I am doing 10,000 steps every day!

My motivation comes from seeing the 10,000 step fireworks on my Fitbit every day, experiencing better sleep, and having a wedding to get in shape for - it's still a while away so I will be continuing to step to it after October ends.’

- Lily Wu

‘I have loved the challenge of walking 10,000 steps every day. Some days are harder than others, especially with the inconsistent Melbourne weather, but looking at the progress of everyone at SMCT it is clear that we have some people doing very impressive amounts of steps every day!’

- Matt Gourlay

‘I have always loved starting the morning with a brisk walk to my local cafe, but since starting the challenge I have been getting up that little bit earlier and taking longer morning walks. As long as it ends at the cafe, I'm happy! I have learnt to enjoy the scenery and "stop" to smell the roses too. To share what I am seeing and seeing what others have seen and enjoyed on their walks has been fun and encouraging. I'm pretty competitive, so if anyone is keen to keep going.... let me know!’

- Vicki Ferguson

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