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'Even if you walk a really short distance, it’s good for your mental health'

Evie Cogley, the president of the Hula Hooping Society at Nottingham Trent University, tells us why she and the society chose to walk 100,000 kilometres to raise money for Wellbeing of Women research this year

Tell me a little bit about yourself and the Hula Hooping Society.

I’m 21 years old, from Kent originally, studying Sociology at Nottingham Trent University.

We joined the society from all walks of life when it was established last year, so we’ve all been here from the start. It’s a bit different to other university sports, and it gets people together in a healthy way and to make friends.

What’s the challenge?

Between the start of the year and summer, we’re walking 100,000 kilometres and encouraging everyone else to walk too to help us reach our target - wherever you are and no matter how big or little stats you do.

Then, in summer, the committee will complete the Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) – which will hopefully make up the last little bit of the 100,000 as a grand finale to round off all the walking!

How did you come up with the idea?

We knew we couldn’t do anything that would involve getting massive groups of people together, so we thought: what’s a good way to get people out of the house? Walking.

We worked out how many people we thought would get involved initially, then divided that by how many weeks we'd have to do it. And then we thought… we want to push ourselves, so we'll say 100,000 kilometres. Not only is it impressive, it's a bit of a challenge!

We didn’t expect this many people when we worked out the figures – we thought there would be 50, but in February we were already at 20,000 kilometres, hundreds of walkers and had doubled our original target of £1,000.

Why Wellbeing of Women?

We care about cervical cancer awareness and research, but also about conditions like polycystic ovaries (PCOS) and endometriosis.

I know quite a few people that suffer with those conditions, and they are really relevant to girls our age – mostly 18 to 24 – but you don’t see information about it everywhere. Sometimes you only realise it’s a thing when you Google symptoms.

We thought it would be great to raise awareness of these issues and raise money for research. What you do is a very valuable thing that affects us.

Why should people get involved?

No matter how many steps you do per day or week, just get involved! It’s for a great cause and lots of people have told us how good it has been to get out of the house.

Even if you walk a really short distance it’s good for your mental health, especially during the pandemic.

How is the walking going so far?

We are walking 16 kilometres per day between now and the Three Peaks so, by the time we do it, I feel it will just be like an extended long walk for us.

I may eat my words, but with everyone's help, I’m feeling confident we’ll be able to smash it!

Donate and join Evie and the Hula Hooping Society's 100,000 kilometre challenge here.