WHO'S BEHIND THIS?
Country Walking, the UK's best-selling (and fastest-growing) walking magazine, which has been continuously published each month for the past 30 years. (It makes a great challenge companion: if you subscribe now you also get a year's free access to Ordnance Survey's mapping for the whole of the country on your phone, tablet and computer, worth £23.99.) livefortheoutdoors.com is the name of the website we share with our sister magazine Trail.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
It's really very simple, as you'll see from the how it works page. All you do is walk about an hour a day in 6 months, and record those miles on a Progress Tracker sheet available with Country Walking magazine. In fact you don't even need to record your miles on our progress tracker (though there are reasons you might want to – see below).
HOW DO I RECORD MY MILES?
Any way you choose: using a wearable activity tracker, an app on your phone (like OS Maps, MapMyWalk or many others), using a map and a piece of string or with the help of Google Maps. You can keep tabs on how your daily average target changes by using our instant mileage tracker on the challenge homepage. Just enter your total miles so far to find out how many you've got to average a day for the remainder of the year. (Tip: miles put in early on really help your motivation later in the year!)
DO I NEED TO SUBMIT/UPLOAD MY MILES ANYWHERE?
No. The main thing is you keep track of them yourself. But post in the group when you reach milestones and the amazing group member Susan Miller somehow keeps a track of it all and with her help we publish completers lists in the magazine periodically.
WHAT MILES / STEPS CAN I COUNT TOWARDS MY TOTAL?
This is an honesty-based challenge and not a competition and it's up to you what rules you apply to your challenge. Some people – particularly those starting from a lower fitness level – are counting every step while others are only counting planned walks beyond their everyday pottering. Others still count only the miles they cover with walking boots on – that's what people mean when they refer to 'boots on' miles. It's up to you.
IS THERE A LEADER BOARD?
No. #walk500miles is not a race to the finish and the only person you are competing with is last year's version of yourself! Your milestones will be celebrated by the community as heartily whether it's 10, 50 or a multiple of 100 you're hitting. The main thing is surprising yourself not impressing anyone else – but we're pretty sure you will do both!
ARE THERE ANY REWARDS?
Oh, only your fitter, happier, sleeker new self! But having said that, if you've signed up and got a progress tracker you'll be eligible for multiple competitions on the challenge homepage, in the monthly newsletter and in the magazine. You will also be able to download free completion certificates, and buy challenge merchandise like the cool stuff we had in 2016. There are also badges (pins if you're from the US) which declare your participation and which have proved highly covetable! These will be given away free to holders of the March issue (out 27 April) while stocks last.
WHERE DO I GET A PROGRESS TRACKER?
The Progress Tracker is available inside the back cover of the April issue of Country Walking and by download using a code in the magazine.
WHY DO I NEED A PROGRESS TRACKER?
We've found the Progress Tracker addictive to fill in, and it gives a real sense of common cause, but perhaps as importantly you'll need to upload a photo of your progress tracker to enter competitions to win gear from our partners. This enables us to stop professional competition-enterers winning prizes when real #walk1000miles challengers deserve them!
WHAT'S A BADGER?
In 2016 we gave away and later sold over 2000 'I'm doing it!' challenge badges. Someone at some point decided people who wore them should be called 'badgers'. Later, some of them started meeting up for the occasional walk, which was fun, and they're still happening. We will make 2017 badges available via Country Walking soon if you'd like to be a 2017 badger! (And by the way, if you see any other words or references you don't understand do ask: we don't want any exclusiveness here, all are welcome on any in-joke!)
I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS!
Ask away in the Facebook group!