In February we undertook our Miles for Smiles challenge, in which we pledged to walk 800 miles as a team to raise money for Dorset Mind. The team very quickly rose to the challenge, going for walks on their lunch break, hopping on the treadmill after work, or heading to the beach or New Forest at the weekend.
The smiles weren’t just human – we had plenty of happy pooches too!
The idea behind Miles for Smiles was to get active, spend more time in nature, and come together as a team – all things which are shown to improve wellbeing! It’s been wonderful to bond with the team – both during and outside of work hours. We rounded off the month with a big ten-mile walk at Studland, followed by lunch at the Bankes Arms. Thankfully, the weather was on our side, and it was the perfect end to a successful month of fundraising.
The team stopping for a well-earned break halfway through their ten-mile hike
Aimee Bradshaw, joint Head of Culture, who was one of the main driving forces behind Miles for Smiles, says: “The best part of this challenge is that we've come together as a team, encouraged each other, inspired each other, and proven that whether it's a ten-mile hike or a two-mile walk at lunch time, getting out in the fresh air is one of the simplest ways to boost your mood in what can be the most depressing time of the year for many people.”
Despite facing some obstacles – one team member with Covid and, of course, Storm Eunice – we still managed to exceed our target of 800 miles. Between the 17 people who took on the challenge, we racked up a whopping 1,013 miles, scattered across the beach, New Forest, Southampton, Taunton, the Isle of Wight, and even Berlin (thanks to Shannon who jetted off on holiday!).
We also discovered that logging a treadmill walk on Strava leads to some amusing results. I can assure you that, despite what it may look like, I didn’t explode all over my road!
The interesting part of this challenge was that it brought together people of all fitness levels. From the occasional ambler to the seasoned hiker (Zane, our Senior Social Media Executive, walked 80 miles over four days last year!), everyone rose to the challenge and came together to do something amazing for our chosen charity.
We asked Zane why walking is such an important part of her life. She says: “I fell in love with hiking during the last two years, exploring new places that are right on my doorstep. I go on different walks for different moods. My walks after work are a great chance to listen to podcasts, while my walks in nature are a chance for me to completely disconnect and feel at one with nature.” She also tells us that walking helps her to recalibrate when life becomes overwhelming. It also helps to fuel her creativity.
To date, we have raised over £500 for Dorset Mind, and we’ve implemented healthy changes to boost our mood and improve our own wellbeing. That’s a massive win in our book!
If you’d like to donate to Dorset Mind, please visit our JustGiving page.