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Michelle's
Story

Little did I know that my walking challenge would become a saviour during the most difficult time of my life!

Although I’ve always been active, since last August, I’ve been working from home as a teacher. This meant that I went from walking between 8,000-10,000 steps a day, to sometimes only clocking up 2,000 steps. I was spending so much time in from of my laptop that it was really starting to impact on my mental health, not to mention my physical health.

At 4 months pregnant last November, I decided to sign up to a 100 mile challenge. I had wanted to complete the challenge by cycling in the gym and going out for walks, however, that plan soon went out of the window when the government announced that gyms would once again be closing. This meant my only real option was to walk the 100 miles. I didn’t want to set a deadline on how long I had to complete the challenge, but instead, just focus on getting out for walks more regularly.

I set myself the challenge of walking at least 3 times a week during my lunch break, and it gave me a good excuse to get up and away from my laptop. I started to notice a real difference my moods.

I felt more alert during my afternoon lessons, once I’d been out for my daily lunchtime walk.

I also continued to go for walks on my days off and at the weekends with my family.

Everything was going well, and I was clocking up the miles quite nicely, until I received the devastating news that my dad had unexpectedly passed away. The news completely broke me and for a few days, I did not even leave the house.

My dad lived in Barbados so in my 26th week of pregnancy, I flew out to Barbados to organise and attend his funeral with my brother. Though we were in the middle of a global pandemic, it was a given that we were going to make that journey in order to lay our dad to rest.

We were required to quarantine in a hotel room on arrival in Barbados until we received a negative Covid test result. This meant we were not allowed to leave our hotel room at all! We only expected to be in our hotel room for 4 days, however, we spent a whole week waiting for our test results, which meant an already emotional and stressful time became even harder! I am not ashamed to admit that I struggled during that time, and I was even concerned about my own mental health in the final few days of being in quarantine.

With nothing much to do except watch our tablets/phones, my brother and I decided walk up and down our balcony with the aim of hitting our daily step goals.

I can honestly say that having that goal each day helped to pass the hours and gave me a real focus!

During my time in quarantine, I am proud to say that I managed to walk 64,000 steps, approximately 27.2 miles.

Once I returned to the UK I only had 17 miles left to complete, and by the end of January, I finally reached 100 miles.

Little did I know that when I started the challenge, it would actually become a saviour of mine during what has been, without a doubt, the most difficult time of my life!