Spark Steps Challenge: Ten million steps in solidarity with the NHS

Andy By Andy

We walked almost ten million steps in June for our annual steps challenge – which this year was undertaken in solidarity with NHS staff. Now the challenge is complete, and the paces tallied, Spark is very happy to donate £500 to Kingston Hospital Charity

Our challenge was inspired by the fact that NHS A&E staff walk up to 11 miles on a busy shift. We wanted to put ourselves in their shoes and see how many equivalent ‘shifts’ we could walk. Across the agency, we ended up walking just shy of 450 shifts.

Throughout the month we fitted our stepping in alongside work and home life, from taking ‘walking meetings’, to ditching the tube or bus to walk into the office. I was at the park pretty much every evening after work – a habit my toddler will be keen for me to keep up over the longer term.

Although this was a group challenge, there was also some furious competition to see who could walk the furthest. Both for personal pride, but also because the winner got to decide which NHS charity we would be donating to. It was an exciting race to follow, with Raksha and Nick both taking a share of the lead early in the month when they were both on well-timed active holidays. Nick’s photos of his hiking tours through rural Italy gave a few of us a pang of jealousy, making some of us even more determined to snatch the lead away from him!

Eventually Isla took the lead and never let go, logging an impressively consistent number of steps every day. Her incredible 600,000+ steps sealed first place and a £500 donation to Kingston Hospital Charity. Having been born in the hospital, then going on to volunteer and work there in subsequent years, it was an easy choice for her to make.

We’ve certainly emerged from the challenge with huge respect for A&E staff – they walk a long distance on a regular basis. I, for one, was getting pretty tired by the end of the challenge – underlining the extraordinary effort our NHS heroes put in 365 days a year. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a good lie down.