Night falls on the beach in Barcelona. Circles of fire burn on the sand whispering pagan myths and popular legends. The Twalkers rise from the shadows and join the warmth of an ancient Greek story: Hercules undertook a long journey through the Iberian Peninsula until he reached the Garden of the Hesperides; near the Atlas Mountains in North Africa, along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, a place until then, forbidden to men, and where he obtained the three Golden Apples, a guarantee of eternal youth and immortality.
He found them in a beautiful garden guarded by fairies, daughters of the goddess of the night, and by Ladon, a hundred-headed dragon that never slept. After getting the apples, Hercules searched for a nearby cave to have some rest. While he was sleeping, a great secret was whispered to him and, from that moment, never again Hercules experienced hunger, thirst, suffering or illness.
1– Virtually walking an average of 2.5 miles/day, making a total of 870 miles.
2- Talking a few minutes during each walk.
3- It should be outdoors.
Bonuses: while on the road, messages will be sent to you allowing to add extra Km to your walking if you do specific activities. (These activities should have been agreed when starting the Challenge -described below-).
4- Optional Minimum swimming of 8.7 miles/team. (bonus 25 km/person (CANCELLED! see GOOD VIBES BONUS above). *
5- Quitting a bad habit (From Benidorm, bonus 7 km/week every Sunday).
6- Starting a good/healthy habit. (From Benidorm, bonus 7 km/week every Sunday).
7- Doing something you always wanted to do (In Mulhacen bonus 25 km).
*subject to COVID restrictions. We will inform you near the time.
Where: From Barcelona beach to the Cave of Hercules in Tangier (Morocco), 870 miles in 90 days.
Route: starting at Barcelona, walking to Benidorm beach (RESOLUTION BONUS) – up to the Pico Mulhacen (Granada) (GOAL BONUS) – Strait of Gibraltar (SWIMMING BONUS) to Tangier , finally reaching the Atlantic at the Cave of Hercules.
When: Departure on 5th of January– arrival by the 5th of April.
Objective: for 90% of the teams to arrive at the Cave of Hercules before the 5th of April.
Price: £20 pounds/person.
Teams of Three
–Teams of three people.
-At least one of the participants must have one of the following:
1- A cardiovascular risk factor (diabetes, hypertension, overweight, high cholesterol…).
2- Or a chronic physical or mental illness.(osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, a neuropathy, COPD, kidney failure, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia …)
3- Or must be over 60 years old.
-Ideally, at least one member of the team should not be highly motivated.
-One team member must be highly motivated (team leader).
-SWIMMING BONUS: CANCELLED *Optional. At least one member of the team must be able to swim.
If you are not scared of adventure
Interestelar twalking Resolution
Are you up to search immortality?
Objective: to improve the mental and physical health of all participants. Get the three Golden Apples of immortality.
The main goal of this project is to encourage less motivated people to increase their average levels of exercise and physical activity, and to quit bad habits. Any improvement would be a success
1-Physical strength (nothing will stop the team on this long road).
2-Integrity and honour (if the team says they are going to do something, they must comply).
3-Willpower (we will not fall into the enemy traps. We know how to say no to what hurts us and weakens us).
What do I have to do?
1- Walking an average of 2.5 miles per day between the European and African continents. Around 870 miles in total in 3 months (the most motivated people can run).
2- Talking at least a few minutes during each walk. Walking with another person or talking on the phone.
3- Outdoors (fresh air and vitamin D).
4- From Barcelona, and during their tour of Spain, each team will have the option to accumulate a minimum swimming distance of 14 km (this is a one-off bonus of 25 km per person if upon reaching Punta de Oliveros the team has swam 14 kms).
We have set up a virtual bridge to walk over the Strait of Gibraltar, but if your team wants to get the one-off extra bonus we will ask you to swim enough to cover a minimum distance of 14 kms.
Your team can start accumulating swimming kms right from the start in Barcelona.
The swimming distance must be added manually, changing the exercise type to “swimming” option.
At Punta de Oliveros you will receive the following message:
“If your team has swam more than 14 kms each member of your team can add 25 kms to top up their walking”.
5- Choosing a bad habit that you want to quit.
6- Choosing a regular good habit you want to start.
Before starting the activity, each member should have written and shared with their team the bad habit they wanted to quit and the new healthy habit they choose to start doing.
From Benidorm, every SUNDAY the team members can add 14 km manually if during the previous week they have complied with what they had written and agreed with the team. They will have demonstrated their willpower (7 km for quitting the bad habit and 7 km for fulfilling the good habit during the previous week).
These distances will be added manually and only on SUNDAYS. (RESOLUTION BONUS)
|Quit one bad habit||Start healthy habit|
|Stop smoking||Eat two pieces of fruit a day|
|Stop drinking alcohol every day||Eat vegetables for dinner three times a week|
|Stop eating chocolate five days a week||read a bit of a non-job related book|
|Stop eating cookies five days a week||Cook a healthy recipe once a week …|
*First Sunday after Benidorm: You can add 7 km on Sunday if from Benidorm you gave up the bad habit, and 7 km more if after Benidorm you started the good habit (The very first time it does not need to be the whole week with these healthy habit changes).
7- Choosing to do something you always wanted to do
Write it down and share it with your team.
You should achieve the desired goal before reaching the top of the highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula, Mulhacén. A one-off bonus of 25 km per person will be added when reaching the top). Your integrity and honour have been shown (“I do what I say”) .
Each member of the team chooses at least one objective they want to achieve, writes it down and shares it with other members of their team.
-Something you’ve always wanted to do but never find the time.
-Try something new.
-Talk or visit someone from the past.
GOAL BONUS: In Mulhacén, each participant will be given the option to add 25 km manually for their team under the comment: “GOAL BONUS: personal goal met”
How does it work?
All you have to do is press the button on your app to record every time you want to walk outdoors for the Twalking Interestelar Resolutions, and it will start counting. We can measure your distance by taking data via satellite from your favourite app: Strava, Map My Run/Ride or RunKeeper, and more coming soon. The average outdoors walking per day should be around 2.5 miles per person (roughly one hour a day).
Some days you may decide to walk less because it is raining outside and you may want to compensate for it on a nicer day, or perhaps one of your teammates could do a longer distance whilst the least motivated one only walks 500 metres, for example. Every step you take will count towards the final outcome of your team.
You will be able to check where each team is virtually located on the map via satellite and follow every team’s progress. You will also be able to see other teams “walking”, using ‘Streetview’.
The ultimate goal is to finish the race and not to win. Our aim is for at least 90% of the teams to arrive to Hercules Cave by the 5th of April. We do not envisage this as a competition, but as a group of teams working together to become mentally and physically healthier as a society. So, please, if you know participants from other teams, encourage them to keep walking and talking outdoors (hence the name Interestelar Twalking!!). Healthy habits in adulthood can add more than a decade to your life and regularity is a key factor to stick to it. Interestelar challenges you to commit yourself to walking a short distance outdoors every day. If you do it, you will soon feel the magic!!!
A late start is possible if your team was not ready at the start date but you still want to join. Contact us, we will find a way to help you.
Worried about being stuck?
If you get stuck in the middle of the journey for any unavoidable reason, please, send us an email and we will send The Rescue Team to help you with your miles.
Interestelar Foundation is a charity that promotes voluntary work by health professionals and encourages them to create small projects aimed to improve the mental and physical health of the general population. This project is just one example, but to find out about other activities we have done in the past, please, check our website.
Interestelar’s ultimate goal is to create a new respite centre model for patients with severe chronic illnesses that take the well being of carers at heart.
How can you help Interestelar world’s challenge?
If you like this challenge, please, do join us for the Interestelar Twalking Resolutions! We would love to help you to improve your physical and mental health and, of course, to help that of those around you.
If you like the idea and know someone (friends or family, work colleagues…) who can benefit from this challenge, please, spread the word! The more teams we are the healthier society will become!
If you are committed to any charity and want to ask people to sponsor you or to fundraise your cause, we will provide you with that option through the Justgiving page. You know that nothing is compulsory here, only to keep walking!! But if you would like Interestelar Charity to keep developing new activities and projects to improve the world’s global health, we will be grateful for your donation through our website.
Why should you participate in the Twalking Interestelar Project?
Walking improves your mental and physical health. Whilst we are walking, our bodies release natural painkilling endorphins which reduce the risk of anxiety and depression and improve insomnia. Furthermore, some studies show that walking reduces the risk of dementia. Brisk walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Walking is good for your joints and muscles. Not only does it increase your range of motion, it also increases movement and compression, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the joints and cartilage. A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories! Weight loss will reduce the pressure added into your knees and hips. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/walking/12-benefits-of-walking
Talking improves your mental health when you are socialising… so socialise! Even if it is only for one minute, or just leave a caring voice message to your loved ones.
You may also choose to meet for a walk with your partner or friend or to have a virtual walk with a family member and talk in the distance, or even set up a specific time to walk and talk with your colleagues from work. If you care about others your oxytocin levels will increase!
Low levels of oxytocin have been observed in patients who self-report regular high levels of pain, stress and depression. Socialising, laughing and proactive listening has proven to increase your oxytocin levels. As a result, this increase leads to more trusting and collaborative strategies at work, and motivates us to work together for a common purpose.
Oxytocin also contributes to raised levels of relaxation, trust, and psychological stability, whilst reducing stress responses, including anxiety. This natural hormone is an important component of a complex neurochemical system that allows the body to adapt to highly emotive situations. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-moral-molecule/201311/the-top-10-ways-boost-good-feelings
Outdoors: Increase your “Sunshine Vitamin”.
Vitamin D deficiency is a global public health issue faced by all age groups. Our body produces Vitamin D when natural sunlight is exposed to the skin. Exposure to sunlight in moderation and with adequate protection is a crucial element to improve our overall health. Not only does it help maintain healthy bones, it also has a positive impact on the quality of your sleep, reducing the risk of depression and seasonal affective disorder.
Exposure to sunlight also carries beneficial effects against inflammation and correlates with lower blood pressure and improved brain function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4018438/
Good luck to all teams!
Àlex Martin (Interestelar.es)