It was September, and one month into Melbourne’s second lockdown where we were restricted to moving only within a 5km radius of home. I’ve got to admit this was starting to take its toll on my mental health, and I had room to move outside my backyard! What about my colleagues working from home in their apartments?  

Exercising outside of the home was permissible for only one hour per day, and that’s when the idea struck. That one hour of exercise had to be the answer to getting the team together to work towards something that would benefit our mind and body.

After talking it over with colleagues, Steptember had already started. Our last group walk a few years back was Melbourne to Manila – a reference to the distance between our two offices. What could be our goal be this time?

The announcement that the AFL Grand Final would be played this year in Brisbane, one month out from its usual last weekend in September, and there it was. The answer: We’ll walk to the ‘G’. The GABBA that is…

The distance from Melbourne to Brisbane is not to be underestimated 1,700km on foot, but having done that similar distance already to Manila, we needed a bigger goal as the team would knock that out in no time. So it became a “Walk to the ‘G’ – The Long Way”.  We would take to the coast and walk the 2 million cumulative steps to get to the GABBA by Grand Final eve.

The challenge was born.

The original map from the outset determined that 6,000 steps would be required from each person, per day to reach the destination in time with a one-hour restriction on exercise in place. We tracked our step challenge using Count.It and setup weekly prizes to keep people motivated to keep going.

By the time the challenge started, our exercise limit had been increased to two hours thanks to a slight relaxation in restrictions. We tracked our progress on Google Maps and imagined fun anecdotes along the way.

The team relished those additional hours of exercise, and it became apparent by the end of week two, we were well ahead of schedule in reaching the GABBA.  The plan needed to shift. 

We recalculated the distance based on the previous fortnight’s activity and a new map was drawn up to accommodate the changes. We would head out to the ‘back of Bourke’ to see what was out there before returning northeast to Brisbane.

In the 30 day challenge, we walked a cumulative total of 4.08 million steps.

We did it!

I know I can say that it’s been an essential exercise.  Not only for the virtual team building and banter that it created, but for the exercise: to clear the mind, work the body, and feel not so housebound due to our current locked-down state.

I’d like to think we’ll do more of these virtual exercise challenges from now on since our weekly gym sessions are suspended. I’ve found it very motivating.

So now we’re virtually at the ‘G’ I guess the question is: Who will win the footy? 


Total kms walked

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