Last weekend (4th & 5th March) I hiked on two consecutive days for the first time.

Saturday: I planned a 13km (just over 8 miles) walk with 137m of ascent.  Only pavement pounding, but useful mileage in the legs.  It felt a long way, but I made it in 2.5hrs – an average speed of 3.4mph (5.2km/hr). The last couple of km I started to slow down.  However, unlike the previous weekend’s hike in Essex, I didn’t suffer with groin pain.

Sunday: In the pouring rain – “it’s only water” – I managed to persuade my dad to come for a walk with me.  Like a lot of people, he struggles to go for a walk ‘just for the sake of it’.  So with my mum’s help, we drew up a shopping list and headed off with purpose to Tesco.  It was an ‘out and back’ walk of 5.5km/hr.  The distance took us 1hr 20mins.  It wasn’t a break-neck speed, but proved good father-daughter time to chat about all sorts of things. It also got dad out and about being active.  Last year he had a double heart bypass op.  This has transformed his life.  After having suffered angina pain for over 30 years, he is now pain free.

Purpose – we all need encouragement and focus at times.  Training for the Pure Challenge Peak District Six Dales hike (June 24th) has given me purpose and focus to increase my fitness levels. Just as I encouraged my dad out into the rain last Sunday, so my cousin Jill has encouraged me to rise to the hiking challenge.

So… who can YOU encourage? It may be a physical challenge: to do something which will stretch them beyond what they’ve previously done.  It may be a mental challenge: to overcome a fear or change a behaviour pattern.

Sometimes we need to reach out to others, and in doing so, we too get blessed. Pay it forward.