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August 2022 Issue
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I’m doing it to be a good role model

Natalie Ridler, left, with Nina and Erin in Rotorua’s Redwoods

The Walk1200km challenge has shown this family they don’t need their car every day.

Natalie Ridler’s three-year-old daughter doesn’t even blink about walking  to kindy in torrential rain.

“Nina doesn’t know I’m doing a challenge, she just knows we walk,” Natalie says.

While the 1km from their Rotorua home to kindy goes on Natalie’s Walk1200km progress tracker, it’s the life lessons being passed on to her daughter that matter most.

“Being a good role model was at the heart of my decision to do the challenge,” Natalie says.

It’s about learning that you don’t need to use the car every day, that there’s no such thing as bad weather and that you can have fun in your own backyard or out in the bush.

Natalie says she has been following the stories of Walk1200km participants in Wilderness but only recently emerged from the sidelines and signed up herself.

“It felt like quite a big commitment.”

Four weeks into the challenge and she is feeling good.

“I’m conscious that Walk1200km is motivating me to get out more often and cover small distances to fit in with daily life.”

That includes trips to the supermarket 2km from her home.

Natalie and wife Erin are keen mountain bikers but have found walking to be a nice family option.

They took Nina on her first overnight tramp when she was eight months old, to Waihaha Hut in Pureora Forest Park.

Natalie says she loves including Erin and Nina in walks for the challenge.

“I feel super supported.”