Moonbase . . . we have landed!

WE'VE done it!Evening Star readers have completed the epic Walk to the Moon, getting ourselves fitter and helping to avoid unnecessary car journeys.A total of 51 teams with nearly 600 walkers took part in the challenge which was launched last summer.

WE'VE done it!

Evening Star readers have completed the epic Walk to the Moon, getting ourselves fitter and helping to avoid unnecessary car journeys.

A total of 51 teams with nearly 600 walkers took part in the challenge which was launched last summer.

The entrants were all supplied with pedometers to record how many steps they took and all the figures were calculated on the Star's website www.eveningstar.co.uk

Walkers carried on recording their figures throughout the autumn of last year, but understandably the figures dropped dramatically during the middle of winter and the dreadful events which hit Ipswich last Christmas.

However with the improved weather in the spring the total started creeping up again, and we finally crossed the winning post at the beginning of this month.

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Although the St John team was the clear winner, many other teams also put in strong performances including the Riverside Gang and the Suffolk Coastal Astro Walkers.

It was a member of the Astro Walkers, Linda Eade, who completed the most steps but she opted not to accept the prize because it would be difficult for her to reach Ipswich to take advantage of it.

Marion Dunmore, from the St John team, lived up to her name at the time the winning line was crossed, although Debbie Catling from the Riverside Gang ran her close all the way.

A spokesman for Ipswich Council, which was the Star's main partner in running the project, was delighted by the success of the Walk to the Moon.

He said: “The whole point of the Walk to the Moon was to show people how they could introduce exercise into their everyday lives.

“If you are walking around the town, or even walking around offices or a school, you may not think you are taking exercise, but it all adds up.”

And he hoped it had inspired some participants to introduce more exercise into their lives.

“If people decide to walk into town from the estates rather than always jumping into their car or getting off the bus a stop or two early then that is very good for them and for the environment,” he said.

Suffolk Sport and Suffolk County Council also helped sponsor the project - the county was keen to get walkers to use public transport as a springboard for their exercise.

A spokeswoman for the county said: “It was very encouraging that so many people signed up for the Walk to the Moon, and we know many people included this exercise into their everyday lives.

“It was also good to see people using public transport as part of their walking - we hope they keep this up!”

Events to promote the event included regular exercise sessions on the Cornhill during last year's hot summer.

People were inspired to take part in a serious of events, ranging from classes with Dance East to penalty-shooting competitions, and demonstrations of exercises that are good for heart patients.

Moon facts:

The moon is 235,000 miles from the earth.

591 walkers completed that distance.

They recorded an average of 340 miles each - although many walkers did much more than that!

Winner Marion Dunmore recorded about 1,450 miles - averaging about 4.5 miles every day.

The winning team completed just over 16,000 miles!

MEMBERS of the Walk to the Moon winning team have been put through their paces to assess their fitness ahead of their three months' free access to sporting facilities in Ipswich.

The St John Ambulance team beat off stiff competition to walk the equivalent distance to the moon first.

Their prize was three months' use of the borough council I Card.

Brian Clark, fitness suite manager at Whitton Sport Centre, led the tests.

He said: “We want to show them the benefits of exercise. Hopefully in three months they will see a big difference in their health.

“They will feel better and look better and will have some data that will show those results.

“People are here for different reasons - for example weight loss, building strength, and keeping up with their grandchildren.”

Louise Osborne, gym supervisor, added: “Hopefully, when the three months are up they will have been integrated into the activities and want to stay for longer.”

Trevor Quarton, from St John Ambulance's patient transfer services, said: “We took the challenge on because we do a lot of walking around the wards.

“And at weekends we are volunteers so we are walking around things like show grounds and motor bike tracks.

“You end up clocking up a lot of miles and you don't realise how far you are walking.

“I am hoping to get a bit fitter. I want to feel a bit better.”

Steph Ruddy, who organised the St John team, said: “I'm hoping to slim down for my holiday to Spain.

“I'm not looking forward to it because I'm scared of keep fit and exercise. It's all quite mind boggling.

“But I'm going to give it a try because it's an ideal opportunity to try it.”

Carol Thacker, caretaker and administrator, added: “I want to up my fitness levels and I will give anything a go.

“I have young grandchildren and it's nice to be able to keep up with them.

“There was a lot of competition in the office when Walk to the Moon was going on.

“I would go to the shop to get the milk and would walk the long way round just to get the extra miles.

“We would go out on walks instead of driving and it really was great fun.”

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