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New West and Burnaby to vie for supremacy in Walk30 Challenge

Walk30 Challenge will see which community can log the most walking minutes in five weeks

Folks of all ages and abilities are invited to get moving as part of this year’s Walk30 Challenge.

Students from Lord Kelvin Elementary School in New West and 12th Avenue Elementary in Burnaby joined mayors, school trustees and doctors at the April 5 kickoff event at Moody Park. New West Mayor Jonathan Cote and Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley are encouraging citizens in their respective communities to participate in this year’s walking challenge, which runs from April 11 to May 15 – when the winning municipality, whose residents walk the most, will be announced.

“Walking is a great way to stay healthy and connect with your community at the same time,” Hurley said. “Every bit of physical activity helps, so I encourage everyone to get out and explore the incredible parks, trails and tracks throughout Burnaby and New Westminster.”

The annual Walk30 Burnaby/New West Challenge aims to inspire residents to walk more for health, community connectedness, and to rethink how people get around.

“In 2020, I made a resolution for the decade ahead to walk the same number of steps as it would take to go around the world, for my own health and that of the planet. During the pandemic, it has been great to get around by walking and it is a sustainable way to travel,” Cote said. “Walk30 is a chance for everyone to walk more, so let’s get out and enjoy it this spring.”

Every year, the Walk30 Challenge promotes weekly “walking themes” to keep participants motivated and engaged by highlighting the benefits of walking, active transportation, and being outdoors. This year’s challenge will focus on shopping local, “blending” your walks with public transportation, walking for mental health, and more.

“Walking just 10 minutes at a time has many physical and mental health benefits,” said Dr. Aamir Bharmal, medical health officer for Burnaby and New Westminster. “I’m going to use Walk30 as an opportunity to increase my daily walking minutes and connect more mindfully to my neighbourhood, and I hope you will, too,”

During the five-week challenge, registered participants will track and share their daily walking minutes online. Participants can track their daily walking minutes using a watch, phone or fitness device.

In addition to individuals, organizers invite schools to form classroom or staff teams. Companies and organizations can encourage their employees to walk more by challenging other companies or departments to see who can walk more during the challenge.

You can register at

What’s at stake?

While residents in both communities will enjoy the benefits of walking, only one city will win bragging rights and claim the Golden Shoe trophy for tracking the most walking minutes.

The New Westminster Walkers Caucus, a group of local residents that advocates for walkers and walkability improvements in communities, created the Walk30 Challenge in 2016 to encourage walkability in New Westminster. In 2017, the City of Burnaby joined the challenge.

More than 3,200 people from New West and Burnaby took part in 2018 – the inaugural year of the Walk30 Challenge Cup. With 1.2% of the population walking a total of 362,198 minutes, New Westminster won the Golden Shoe.

New Westminster claimed the Golden Shoe trophy for the second year in a row in 2019. That year, participants walked 40 minutes per day, compared to 27 minutes per day during last year’s challenge – something organizers called a win-win for both communities and for walkability in Metro Vancouver.

When the Walk30 challenge returned in 2021, after a COVID-related hiatus, 1,492 participants from both cities racked up a total of 1.96 million minutes – with the results being too close to call and the competition was declared to be a tie.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus