Winners go the extra mile for healthy hearts
A 90-year-old Port Macquarie walker described as a ‘pocket rocket’, a Townsville walking group coordinator, and a Rylstone walk organiser catering for special-needs walkers have won this year’s Golden Shoe Awards.
We had some fantastic nominations from our walking network, and it was an inspiration to read about so many wonderful contributors to the Heart Foundation Walking program. While it was hard choosing our finalists, the winners have taken their commitment to walking to the next level.
National winner in the Walker category, Anne Whalan, has walked with the Port Macquarie group Hearty Walkers for 20 years and is known to encourage fellow walkers with her friendliness, positivity and energy.
Nominated by a friend, the 90-year-old ‘pocket rocket’ joined Heart Foundation Walking with her husband Bill after he suffered heart problems. When Bill passed away in March 2000, after open heart surgery the year before, Anne kept walking for the social aspect.
“The walking group has saved me from becoming depressed,” she says. “Walking also keeps me healthy, which has allowed me to continue to live independently.”
Erik Eriksson is the national winner of the Walk Organiser category of the Golden Shoe award for his involvement with Rylstone Heart Foundation Walking Group in rural NSW, through which he leads walkers on interesting pre- planned walks. He’s also committed to recruiting new walkers and catering for those with special needs.
National winner of the walking group coordinator category, Andrea White, was recognised for her role in supporting several walking groups in the Townsville area – an area of focus for Heart Foundation Walking due to lower than average rates of physical activity.
Since taking on the role a year ago, she has built excellent relationships with walking groups and their participants and even celebrates milestones with groups and participants.
Congratulations to all our Golden Shoe nominees and award winners!