West Victoria steps up to the challenge

A steps challenge saw Department of Human Services staff in West Victoria collectively walk, run and jog the equivalent of two trips around Australia.

Bringing new meaning to the reality TV series The Amazing Race, where contestants were assigned tasks while racing around the world, the department’s challenge of the same name included 20 teams tracking their steps on Fitbits, phone apps and pedometers over a month.

The 185 staff collectively completed more than 51.7 million steps from 19 October to 16 November, translating to almost 38,000 kilometres – 2.3 trips around Australia.

Two teams from Mildura claimed both first and second places in the competition.

‘Kelly Meters’ Team Captain Kelly Guthrie, whose team took out first place with a total of 269.4 kilometres, was delighted with the result.

“It was a real thrill to be a part of this event and raise awareness for living a healthy and balanced lifestyle,” Kelly said.

“Mildura Service Centre entered four teams so it made it a bit more exciting to beat the local teams.”

Teams recorded their progress in virtual kilometres, which were mapped on a route starting from Footscray and continuing through towns in West Victoria including Newport, Hamilton, Mildura and Ballarat. Every time the racers virtually reached a new town they were greeted with an email containing interesting facts and places of interest in the area.

Participating staff had their own goals to take more steps than each other, which was a good incentive to walk during lunch breaks and hit the gym after work rather than simply recording their movements around the workplace.

West Victoria Zone Service Leader, Stan Neely, had high praise for the event.

“We learned a lot about the cities and towns where our service centres are located,” Stan said.

“Not only was it an amazing race, it was an amazing way to connect our staff across Zone West Victoria.”