A snapshot of Leonka Kaluha

In just a few weeks, Special Olympics Alberta-Calgary athlete Leonka Kaluha has walked over 1,400 km – one of the longest distances of any athlete participating in Walk the World with Me.

She decided to join Walk the World because she loves nature and taking long walks, stating that “it helps me keep fit and I find it peaceful. It is something I can do on my own, or with a friend as long as we remember to social distance…”

Leonka says she started by doing laps outside of her condo complex, but as she became more comfortable with social distancing, she is taking longer walks in her community.

She now goes for multiple walks each day along the ridge above Fish Creek Provincial Park making sure to always have her Road iD bracelet and cell phone to keep safe, but also document her journey.

“I often take pictures of the things I see along the way from the views to all nature has to offer: trees, insects, different birds, rabbits, sometimes even deer down in the park. I even try to remember to take a selfie.”

Getting outside, going for walks, and attending the SOA-Calgary live workouts helps Leonka stay active and the fresh air gives her a moment to forget about the pain the world is going through.

Leonka believes that the world could use a giant band-aid to help start the healing process and to feel better.

When asked about why others should join #WalkTheWorldSO Leonka stated, “Why wouldn’t you? It’s easy to do, the only equipment you need is runners, water bottle, hat, and/or sunscreen. You can do it alone or be with family or friends and go at your own pace.”

“I say get out, get fresh air, and be well!”

We hope you join Leonka and the 1200+ individuals walking the world, as they virtually set their sights on Mexico and Central America!

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Motivating School Athletes To Stay Active And Connected

“These walking challenges are a great way to motivate our athletes to get outside and get active while they are at home. The web page is easy for them to navigate, and tracking their time in minutes as opposed to steps or km made it more inclusive for students who do not have tech or apps at home. The athletes also love seeing their progress on the map and the daily updates online where a great way to make them feel like they were part of a team again, even while social distancing!”

Amanda Morra, teacher from J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate, Ajax, Ontario

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The Wideman’s are Walking with a Purpose

Preston and Carol Wideman have been walking for years, no matter the time of the year or where they are at – and during this period of physical distancing they continue to stay active.

Preston is a Special Olympics Alberta athlete and Carol, his mom, is the Chairperson for the Camrose affiliate. They have been involved for 15 years with Preston participating in a multitude of sports including soccer, bocce, golf, basketball, 5-pin bowling, curling, swimming, functional fitness, softball, along with indoor & outdoor walk-run.

The walking program is one of the hallmarks of the Camrose affiliate, and one of their most important events each year is the Larry Gibson Memorial Walk-Run.

“Larry was a volunteer with SOA-Camrose, he helped establish the basketball program, he served on the affiliate, and assisted with fundraisers and events. Larry’s whole family has embraced Special Olympics and together with them, and the Camrose community we walk and run in memory of Larry to raise funds and bring awareness to SOA-Camrose.”

This year they adjusted the event to maintain physical distancing and the safety of their athletes, participants, and community members. Rather than host a congregated event, they spread it out over five days encouraging participants to just get out when they could.

Approximately 25 athletes walked community paths, trails, and even on their treadmills while remembering Larry. It was a huge success and for Carol it was important to connect with athletes to make sure they are staying active.

Preston says to all his fellow athletes, “stay healthy and stay active, walking is easy, even a little is better than none.”

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LETR Officers Champion #10ADayTillItsOK

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all Special Olympics programming in March, Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) officers from all over the world rallied to create a fun social media challenge #10aDayTillitsOK to help encourage athletes to stay active and have some fun!  Each video featured any 10 exercises which included: pushups, squats or toe-touches but the sentiment was always the same; get your body moving and send inspiration to athletes around the world.

Mike McAllister (Retired, Niagara Regional Police) started the movement and was thrilled to see his brethren from as far as Scotland and Alaska jump on board to support the athletes of Special Olympics.  Mike is now excited to contribute to Walk the World With Me and looks forward to seeing all the athletes videos and photos walking (safely!) and staying fit.

Have fun with your walks and please know that all Guardians of the Flame are behind you!

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