One of Special Olympic Ontario’s Stratford & Area volunteers, Elizabeth Gaffney (who is a member of the Stratford J.A.M.E.S. Gang team), has walked every street in Stratford twice during the Walk the World with Me challenge!
Throughout her walks, Elizabeth has kept track of her routes by using a city map, highlighting the streets as she completes them. “I have a map that I colour in with every day’s accomplishment – it is very motivating,” said Elizabeth. Accomplishing this is no small feat given that Stratford covers an area of 26.95km2 (or 10.41 sq. mi).
When Elizabeth started her first round of Stratford, she began with random walks radiating out from where she lives. As she got further from home, Elizabeth started driving to corners of the city to walk those neighbourhoods. As Elizabeth reached her second round of walking Stratford, she started walking the streets alphabetically.
“With every new beginning, the walk has a bit of a different profile, keeping me quite engaged in the project. Travelling down a street in the opposite direction, or even on the other side seems to change the walk significantly,” said Elizabeth. The walks have been a ball which is why Elizabeth is excited to take on her third round of walking the streets of Stratford!
Elizabeth encourages her fellow SOO volunteers, coaches and athletes to get involved in staying active at home noting, “what’s not to love? No equipment necessary except decent shoes required! I get to support my local SOO group, bringing awareness and staying fit!”
Walking has been a terrific project for Elizabeth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need routine to hang onto our day and in these interesting times, routine has been lost for many. But not if you walk every day! So, good for my brain, good for my spirit and good for my body,” said Elizabeth.
To stay active during the winter months, Elizabeth plans to keep on walking as long as it isn’t too slippery – continuing to colour in the streets of Stratford! Elizabeth also does yoga and other fitness classes online to accommodate the new reality.
Way to go Elizabeth – we can’t wait to cheer you on as you accomplish your third round of walking Stratford!