Will New Westminster reclaim the Golden Shoe? Will Burnaby find a way to beat the two-time Walk30 Challenge champion? Will this year’s event once again end in a tie?
The Walk30 Challenge encourages people of all ages to get walking by participating in a friendly competition between New West and Burnaby.
What’s it all about?
The Walk30 challenge aims to encourage and inspire people to walk more – as a way of improving their overall health and wellness, strengthening community connections and rethinking how people move around their communities.
How does it work?
During the five-week challenge that runs from April 11 to May 15, participants of all ages are encouraged to walk every day (30 minutes is recommended) and track their progress to see which city’s participates can walk the most minutes.
Community members can register as individuals or teams in the free walking challenge. Prizes will be up for grabs each week.
“Participating in Walk30 encourages lifelong walking habits and an increased awareness of one’s surroundings and neighbourhood, leading to better community ties, ‘street smarts’ and mental and physical wellness,” said a notice about the event. “Each week of the challenge will have a special theme … which will highlight the importance of walking and being outdoors, and encourages students to think critically about their transportation habits.”
These will include walking for mental health, inclusion and accessibility, and sustainability.
Who can take part?
Folks of all ages participate in the annual walking challenge, including local seniors and students in elementary schools.
Students from Lord Kelvin Elementary School in New West and 12th Avenue Elementary School in Burnaby will join New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote and Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley at the launch event. It’s taking place in Moody Park on Tuesday, April 5 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
“The launch will be interactive and educational,” said a notice about the event. “This is a great chance for students to become champions of the Walk30 Challenge and inspire their peers and other young people to participate.”
Are there other ways to participate?
BEST (Better Environmentally Sound Transportation) is hosting the Walk30 Challenge. The event’s partners include the cities of Burnaby and New Westminster, the New Westminster and Burnaby school districts, Fraser Health, the Walkers’ Caucus and the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation.
“We welcome volunteers of all ages to help promote Walk30 through a variety of fun, flexible roles,” said a notice from BEST. “Come promote the challenge with us outdoors, share your love for active transpiration and sustainability and make lasting connections.”
How did this challenge get started?
The New Westminster Walkers Caucus, a group of local residents that advocates for walkers and walkability improvements in communities, created the Walk30 Challenge in 2016 to encourage walkability in New Westminster.
In 2017, the City of Burnaby joined in on the five-week challenge.
How’s it gone?
More than 3,200 people from New West and Burnaby took part in 2018 – the inaugural year of the Walk30 Challenge Cup. With 1.2% of the population walking a total of 362,198 minutes, New Westminster won the Golden Shoe.
New Westminster claimed the Golden Show trophy for the second year in a row in 2019. That year, participants walked 40 minutes per day, compared to 27 minutes per day during last year’s challenge – something organizers called a win-win for both communities and for walkability in Metro Vancouver.
Like many things, the Walk30 challenge was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It returned in 2021, when 1,482 participants from both cities racked up a total of 1.96 million minutes.
“Remarkably, the results were too close to call and the competition was declared to be a tie,” said the BEST website.
More details, please:
For more information or to register for this year’s Walk30 Challenge, go to www.bestbc.ca.
Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus