Winter walking a way of life in annual exercise challengeDaily practice prepares Fort Simpson team for Walk to Tuk in January
Northern News Services
Thursday, December 22, 2016
LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON
Walkers in the Deh Cho are pulling on their boots and preparing for a 1,658-kilometre long haul.
Tanya Hurst, left, and Sharon Herring will be participating in Walk to Tuk for the second time with their Fort Simpson team, The Noon Walkers. - April Hudson/NNSL photo
Walk to Tuk is now entering its sixth year. The event, run by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, challenges teams of walkers to collectively traverse the distance between Fort Providence and Tuktoyaktuk. Of course, team members don't literally have to walk from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk - the challenge is completed in members' own time, often on trails or in recreation facilities in their respective communities.
Four teams from the Deh Cho have signed up for the challenge so far, which begins on Jan. 3 and runs until Feb. 28.
In Fort Simpson, the Noon Walkers are a group of eight who are taking the challenge for their second year. Tanya Hurst, Kim Hardisty, Trevor Kjeldsli, Diane Harold, Robin Leahy, Sharon Herring, Mike Mageean and Sarah Gordon are already preparing for the January challenge.
Team members often gather at the Fort Simpson recreation centre at noon to speed-walk around the gymnasium. On Dec. 20, four team members were at the gymnasium, training up for the walk.
Last year, the group walked a total of 4,996 kilometres, vastly outstripping the challenge's 1,658-kilometre trek.
This year, said team captain Tanya Hurst, their goal is to make it to Tuktoyaktuk a total of three times.
The group formed after Hurst read an article on Walk to Tuk.
"We'd been walking in the gym, and we decided to do it," she said.
Every lunch hour, the team walks seven kilometres in the gym. After the challenge ended last year, Hurst said, the team continued walking anyway.
"Last year, none of us quit after the walk was over. It was very motivating for a few of us - some of us were out to lose weight, some were in it for the exercise," she said.
Hurst credits Sharon Herring, the group's oldest member, with keeping everyone on track.
"She's our biggest supporter and motivator," Hurst said.
"She keeps us going another lap when we want to give up."
Walk to Tuk calculates distances by the amount of hours a team spends walking. Other forms of exercise can also be counted toward the challenge, such as jogging or skiing.