Deborah Cheetham Retirement Village resident Mary Saunders is one of 1300 Ryman residents across Australia and New Zealand taking part in the company’s Active Ageing event for 2022, Walking for Wellness.
Australian residents will virtually walk 60km of the Mornington Peninsula, over 30 days in October, using the ‘My Virtual Mission’ app, which will track their progress.
In New Zealand Ryman residents will virtually walk the stunning Abel Tasman Coastal Track, and the results of both epic walks will be combined to determine the winners in both categories.
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Participants will use pedometers to track their steps.
At 91-years-old Mary didn’t feel up to walking 60km in 30 days, so with the help of Deborah Cheetham Activity and Lifestyle Assistant Sally Thornton she and a group of fellow residents have embarked on an equally impressive mission.
Sally said the ‘mini’ Walking for Wellness initiative was a way to encourage residents who were less mobile to get involved.
“Village residents entered in the 60km event are training with residents who have set the goal of doing 15km in October,” Sally said.
“It’s been wonderful to watch residents of different abilities get out and be active together.”
While Mary always led an active life, including playing netball at school and walking lots as a child, things really ramped up when she retired.
“I was always very active, but the serious walking really started after I finished work,” she said.
“I’ve had the long history of walking from 51 to 91, my goodness, that’s nearly half a century!”
Mary’s ‘serious walking’ included a daily 8km walk along Portarlington beach, where she lived for 42 years before moving to Deborah Cheetham.
On the days when campers didn’t invite her for a cup of tea or lemonade, Mary would complete the walk in just over an hour.
Since moving to Deborah Cheetham a year ago Mary has enjoyed going on two walks a day, and sometimes a third on a good day.
“If it rained all day I’d be as miserable as sin because walking is a big part of my routine,” she laughed.
“I think our lives are planned for us to a certain extent, but we do contribute by the way we live our lives, which is why walking is so important.
“You can’t see the garden when you whizz past in a car, but when you’re walking you can stop and smell the roses.”
Residents in Australia and New Zealand will train for Walking for Wellness until the mission begins in October.
An awards ceremony will be held in November to celebrate the winners and the Active Ageing Village of the Year.