Beat the Street Swadlincote 2023
What first attracted you to take part in Beat the Street?
We are a very active family and like taking part in a range of sports and recreational activities. The adverts on social media were really appealing and we liked the opportunity to take part as a team (Swadlincote junior parkrun) and have the option to win things that could benefit everyone in our community.
What has been your biggest achievement whilst playing the game?
Making sure to ringfence some time each day to walk and talk with the kids has been great. Sometimes in the business of life, you forget the importance of literally just stepping outside, enjoying the company of others surrounded by nature. Some of our favourite walks were late in the evening and we would take the time to star gaze- something the kids really enjoyed.
What have you enjoyed most about Beat the Street?
Lots of things! Taking the opportunity to connect with friends and family, explore new areas and seeing so many people in the community embrace the game. One of the nice things about lockdown was spending quality time with loved ones. We found that as life got back to normal, we spent less time just going out for walks, bikes and scooter rides. Taking part in the game has reminded us how much we enjoy walking, running, biking and scooting whilst talking and hunting for boxes, discovering new parks and open spaces en route.
I love that the game is so inclusive, with participants across the lifespan taking part. My mum is in her late 60’s and my youngest has just turned two. They both thoroughly enjoy taking part at their own pace, and both have seen great increases in their fitness and endurance levels. I’m a member of Swadlincote Joggers, a fantastic free local running and walking group that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is a walking group as well as 4 other groups that aim to do 3, 4, 5 or 6 miles over an hour. They are also taking part in BTS so most of the groups’ routes have been based around the location of the boxes to make sure we get our valuable beat box points in whilst participating! Again, seeing adults have as much enjoyment in taking part as the children, and both the physical and social benefits is a great testament to the game.
Beat the Street were great at signposting community groups that we may not have been aware of beforehand. We attended a Wild Minds session that was fantastic, as well as several park events. I volunteer at the local junior parkrun and we saw several new children begin to take part as a result of being signposted by the BTS campaign.
Beattie mascot is a great ambassador for BTS. The children (and adults) all loved meeting her at numerous events. We loved it when Beattie visited us at Swadlincote junior parkrun. Seeing all the children’s excited faces when they spotted her was brilliant. She was a great marshal too!
Has playing the game helped you in any personal way?
My eldest daughter and son are ten and seven. They’ve never been out walking by themselves but over the last few weeks playing the game has helped me get over my own fears and anxiety of their safety when out and about. My ten year old has been to do the local ones over a 1.5 mile distance by herself as well as together with her seven year old brother several times now, graduating from walking within watching distance to doing it independently this week. Unfortunately, their school is ten miles away with no opportunity to walk. Playing the game and having some regular routes, has meant we’ve had more conversations about road safety and what to do if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable around others. As well as reducing my anxiety, both children have really grown in confidence and feel very empowered and proud of themselves too.
If you could offer any advice to people hesitant to play Beat the Street what would it be?
Forget the competition element and do this for you. Aim for just 1-2 boxes at first then gradually build up if you’re not used to walking. Taking part with friends and/or family is a great opportunity to connect as well as making the activity feel much easier! There’s no pressure to do a set amount of boxes, just do what you feel you are comfortable with. My mother has various health conditions and some days can’t get out of bed, let alone go for a walk. On other days she can do far more, so she just takes each day one at a time. She’s gone from doing just 2 boxes to sometimes 15/16 split over several shorter walks. It’s a great game to help improve fitness as well as mental health and social participation.
How can we help keep you active after Beat the Street has finished?
We will continue to keep active after BTS has finished. The signposting to other groups that you have done (e.g. to parkruns, community groups etc) has been great for scaffolding people to try new activities and hopefully continue once the event has finished. It would be great if BTS could be an annual activity, especially over the winter months when people tend to hibernate and stay in more, encouraging exercise habits to be more firmly established