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New Zealand's Record Stepper in KiwiRail Challenge

New Zealand's Record Stepper in KiwiRail Challenge

A Ngaio, Wellington, locomotive operator Dennis Williams has broken all New Zealand records for the number of steps while taking part in the national 10,000 Steps health programme.

Dennis Williams was a member of KiwiRail Group's Tranz Metro "Leg Byes" team who took part in the eight-week programme during which 900 KiwiRail staff from Whangarei to Invercargill donned pedometers and completed half a billion steps.

The programme has attracted 20,000 participants in the last 12 months from many organisations around the country, and has been going for five years.

Dennis Williams managed over 2.5 million steps (2,533,410) in just eight weeks, a New Zealand record. His highest week included striding for 372,165 steps, comfortably beating the previous record holder who was training for the Ironman Taupo challenge.

He says his efforts were inspired by his wife, his grandsons, and also by a colleague who engaged in a friendly rivalry. "I walked for several hours in the morning, then walked my wife to school and did another two hours before work."

Tranz Metro colleagues confirm he was seen hitting the pavements in all parts of Wellington, morning and evening, as well as being on his feet at work.

"There is a serious side to this challenge as ten thousand steps a day is proven to help combat a number of life shortening diseases," comments Shelley Leuchars, KiwiRail's Health & Injury Prevention Manager. "It was fantastic that KiwiRail showed commitment to the health of our employees and the participation was further inspired by the Chris Cairns walk for rail safety. We have seen impressive health and team building benefits as a result."

Not surprisingly, Dennis Williams' team "Leg Byes" was the highest stepping KiwiRail team, clocking up almost 12.5 million between them.

Everyone involved was organised into a workplace team of 10 and each given a pedometer to record their daily step count. "Team weekly totals were shown on a map of New Zealand, so everyone could see how far they had walked," said Shelley Leuchars.

"Even for those who were not pace setters, the initiative really worked to raise their activity to a healthy level and we have seen many people in KiwiRail working more closely together," adds Mrs Leuchars. "Although the programme has now finished many staff are continuing to wear their pedometers and keep walking."

And would record stepper Dennis Williams get involved in the 10,000 steps programme again? "Yes, at the drop of a hat," was his response.


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