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Veteran walker signs up for Dandara-sponsored Harbour2Harbour Walk once again

A veteran Harbour2Harbour Walk participant who inspired the introduction of a second, shorter route to the annual event has signed up for 2017.

Charlie Quirk, 73, who has confirmed he will join the walk on Sunday 21st May, helped encourage a second starting point being introduced for this year as part of efforts to get more people involved.

The fourth Harbour2Harbour Walk, again sponsored by award-winning developer Dandara, hopes to beat last year’s record-breaking entry of 319 walkers, and surpass the almost £4,000 raised for charity in 2016.

The walk begins on Port Erin beach and follows a nine-mile coastal route to Castletown. The second start point will be next to the RNLI station in Port St Mary, the shorter route covering around five and a half miles.

Event Co-ordinator Janet Bridle said the idea for a shorter route followed a conversation with Charlie about the lack of older people – or ‘silver tops’ – taking part. She explained:

Charlie is a great supporter of the H2H and has entered all the walks to date. He’s a bit of an H2H inspiration really because he is 73, has had a heart operation and is a great believer in keeping fit through walking.

Introducing a shorter route was a wonderful idea and we are sure it will encourage more people to sign up.

Charlie Quirk and Janet Bridle ahead of the 2017 Harbour2Harbour Walk, sponsored by
Dandara
Charlie Quirk and Janet Bridle ahead of the 2017 Harbour2Harbour Walk, sponsored by Dandara

Charlie added:

I had a stent fitted in 2008 and as I had always been a pretty fit and active person I was determined to get back to a good level of fitness. It’s no secret really, you just have to do it and I now do a lot of walking to keep my fitness up.

I really love the H2H because it is such a friendly walk; there’s no competition to get to the finish fast, you can do it at your own pace, you meet and chat to loads of people along the way and it’s not too far. I was surprised there were so few retired people doing it and thought maybe we could encourage more by offering a second start point. Janet loved the idea.

The 2017 H2H Walk will start at 10am then head along St Mary’s Road to Glen Chass before joining the coastal path through Port St Mary, along Gansey and Scarlett, and finishing in Castletown’s Market Square. Walkers will depart the second start point at Port St Mary’s inner harbour at 11am.

Janet said:

After the second start point it is more or less flat all the way to Castletown, except for a few stiles along the stretch between Pooil Vaaish and Scarlett.

We really hope older people and families with smaller children will join us and be inspired to get a little fit in readiness for the H2H Walk and continue with that fitness afterwards. Walking is so good for you.

The annual coastal walk is organised by Southern Community Initiatives (SCI) to raise money for a number of important local community projects, including Men in Sheds and SPort Erin. This year there will also be a donation to Beach Buddies, recognising the work volunteers do to remove litter from the coastline along the route of the H2H walk.

Dandara Managing Director Seamus Nugent said:

The Harbour2Harbour Walk is getting bigger every year, helping to raise essential funds for important community initiatives. The inclusion of a second start point, creating a shorter route, is a great idea to make the event even more accessible and, hopefully, will encourage many more people to get involved.

I’d like to say thank you to Charlie for his suggestion and well done to the organisers for ensuring as many people as possible can take part.

To enter or find out more about the event, please visit www.hubclubsci.im. You can also stay up-to-date with the latest news via the Facebook group.

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