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March 2022 Issue
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I’m walking for self-discipline

Sheila Downard says Walk1200km is good for her self-discipline.

Sheila Downard signed up to Walk1200km because it will help her to get out every day. 

For 79-year-old Sheila Downard, lockdowns mean walking each day, some days up to 10km, on Christchurch’s Port Hills.

The former preschool owner says she has walked most days “for longer than I can remember”.

But things have ramped up a bit since Downard retired 13 years ago and now she regularly takes on multi-day tramps all over the country.

Downard is a Wilderness subscriber and says she joined Walk1200km believing it would be good for self-discipline.

“It’s an added incentive to get out for my daily walk before breakfast.”

With the Port Hills on her back doorstep, she aims to walk at least 4km each day and 19 weeks into the challenge she’s well on target, having walked 610km.

Most Sundays, you’ll find Downard and other members of the Over Forties Tramping Club on day walks around Canterbury, and then there are the multi-day tramps.

In February last year, she and a clubmate walked 66km around Mt Ruapehu and stopped on the way back to Christchurch to do the 41km Abel Tasman Inland Track.

The Routeburn and Paparoa Great Walks are on the schedule for April and May this year, with plenty of excursions in between, including to Travers Valley and the St James Walkway.

Downard is understated about her walking achievements, saying they’re just part of her life with a goal of keeping fit for tramping for as long as possible.

Join Sheila and thousands of others – start walking today! Register now.