Staff and students eclipse Walk to the Moon challenge

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Stirling staff and students have collaborated to walk around a quarter of a million miles to the moon.

Organised in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the ‘Walk to the Moon’ campaign, launched by the Scottish Governement in February, challenged participants to cover the distance between Earth and the moon.

Today (July 20) marks the anniversary, and for the last few months, students and staff have been getting active all around Stirling, clocking up 238,855 miles between them.

Stirling completed the challenge on July 15, with 5 days to spare. 669 people took part, meaning that on average, participants walked and biked more than 350 miles each in the last five months.

Staff and students recorded their mileage using a smartphone app that deducted each individual’s contribution from the overall total – which equated to around 478 million steps.

Prof. Maggie Cusack, left, and Cathy Gallagher led a celebratory walk around campus. Credit: Twitter – UOS Communications

The challenge was launched by Scotland’s public health and sport minister, Joe FitzPatrick. The campaign in Stirling was led by Professor Maggie Cusack, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and Cathy Gallagher, the university’s executive director of sport.

Professor Cusack said: “As a University involved in some of today’s major international space missions – and as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence – we felt it was appropriate to celebrate this special anniversary with our own almighty challenge – and I’m over the moon we have landed in good time.”

Ms Gallagher said: “The level of participation was excellent – with some people contributing thousands of miles by ditching their car for the duration of the challenge; many clocking-up long distances through running and cycling; and others building lunchtime strolls, walking meetings and even dancing into their days in an attempt to ramp up their steps.

She added: “Over the course of the last five months, we have witnessed staff and students change their lifestyles to support ‘Walk to the Moon’. We hope that the lasting legacy of the challenge will lead to permanent changes, with people increasing their levels of physical activity to lead more active, less sedentary, and healthier lives.”

The completion of the challenge comes as Japanese-led space mission Hayabusa2 – involving University of Stirling geophysicist Dr Axel Hagermann, has announced an important astronomical discovery.

The study – published in the Nature Astronomy journal – found that small fragments of material from C-type asteroids are too fragile to survive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, explaining why meteorites of this type are rarely discovered here.

Student Ryan Peteranna, who took part in the challenge, explained that he contributed 660 miles towards the total, while 54 others surpassed the 1,000 mile mark in the challenge.

He said: “The journey of 238,855 miles began with a single step. Knowing that others were taking these single steps encouraged me to participate, and have my regular movements observed by my phone.

“The challenge also allowed me to indulge my interest for exploring places, and sure enough I discovered places in Stirling and the surrounding area I never had before.”

Although the challenge is over, all our moon champions are keen to continue their efforts, with the hopes of making it back to Earth in time for Christmas.

Feature image credit: Twitter – Prof. Maggie Cusack


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Fourth-year BA (Hons) Journalism Studies student.
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