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  • Writer's pictureMount Cook

200 Days of MADness (Mile A Day)

Mount Cook Deputy Manager Lauren Harrington tell us about her personal challenge to travel a mile per day for 200 days in a row.

During winter 2020, Molly and I spent lots of time going out for walks and even the occasional run, to explore and with the intention to become experts in our local area. On one walk to the Star Disc towards the end of the year, we were reflecting on how important taking time for ourselves had become during the various stages of lockdown we’ve experienced throughout the year. In a time where spending time exploring had become few and far between, it was clearer than ever that regularly being at one with nature was one of the most valued things we had missed.

Snowy countryside and wind turbine
A mile a day whatever the weather!

Thinking about what we could do to keep this up, Molly decided to commit to 20 minutes a day of exercise, and I went for completing one mile a day.

Setting a realistic, achievable goal like this for each day meant that it was (and still is!) within our capacity to accomplish regardless of our everyday challenges. It took most of January for it to become habit, and once we got to day 100, it was no longer something that we thought of as something we ‘had’ to do; it became second nature, and a part of the day that we looked forward to.

While 20 mins, or a mile, is just over 1% of the day, taking the time for ourselves to reflect on what’s happening around us is a secret weapon in being able to stay calm during the organised chaos that comes with running school trips for up to 360 children per week.

As we moved closer to day 200, it seemed as though we were moving through the year at an alarming speed. One of my favourite parts of finding regular routes has been observing seasonal changes; from trees growing into the warmer temperatures and becoming greener and bushier by the day, the way the sheep start getting slower as it gets closer to lambing season, to the way more people start to emerge for spring walks and appreciate the beauty of where we’re lucky enough to live.

Two women in the countryside with "200 DAYS" written on their hands
Deputy Manager Lauren (Left) and Activity Supervisor Molly (Right)

One of the other things I've noticed is how much the land changes during the day – it was a surprise that I eventually found it much easier to be going out at 6 in the morning before a lot of the community are awake.

At this time of day the animals are relaxed and the air feels calmer. Taking time for myself at the start of the day, to re-ground and get set for what lies ahead is the best thing of taking on this challenge.

I would recommend that anyone who is looking to reconnect with nature and their own wellbeing sets themselves a MAD target. Whether it’s running, walking or cycling, travelling a mile a day can give a new perspective of yourself and your surroundings.

Like this idea? We’d love to hear about your Mile A Day challenge! Tag us on Facebook here:


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Brian Dotts
Brian Dotts
Jan 17, 2023

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