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February 2022 Issue
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I’m doing it for fitness

Photo: Dianne Parker


Before lockdown, Dianne Parker was going on multiday tramps every month. After being confined to Auckland during the lockdown, she says Walk1200km has been a saviour for her body and mind.

Dianne Parker’s motto is “use it or lose it”. A regular tramper, the 74-year-old had been firmly in the ‘use it’ camp, but when the country went into lockdown in August, she worried she was about to ‘lose it’.

“Up until lockdown I’d go away for a four or five-day tramp each month, but once lockdown came I got really frustrated,” she says. “I love mountains and thought, ‘I can only walk the dog around the block now’, which I hate and I wasn’t motivated to get out. But once I saw Walk1200km, I thought ‘this was what I needed to get off my backside’.”

Once she started the challenge, Parker began seeking out hills to keep her fitness up and has now walked in nearly every regional park in Auckland.

“Walk1200km has given my fitness a boost that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It’s been a really good way to keep fit. At 74, it’s very hard to maintain your muscles and you need muscles for alpine tramping. If you’re going to do a 1000m climb with a pack on, you’ve got to climb hills to keep up that fitness.”

She is now preparing to walk the challenging Three Passes tramp in Arthur’s Pass, where all her regional park preparation will count.

“Thank God for Walk1200km. It’s saved my brain, saved my sanity and saved my fitness.”

Have you signed up to do the Walk1200km challenge? Do it now.