School of Medicine “Sole Sisters” finish second in national autumn Step Count Challenge

Friday 7 January 2022

School of Medicine’s “Sole Sisters” finishes record second in national autumn Step Count Challenge


The University of St. Andrews’ School of Medicine’s Step Count Challenge team, “Sole Sisters” has emerged Second in Scotland and first in the University of St Andrews at the autumn Step Count Challenge, finishing with a total of 3,143,184 steps.  Rachel Horn, postgraduate secretary at the School of Medicine captained the team which had five members, including Julie Anderson, Katie MacLeod, Fiona Paterson and Chloe Culross.  This finish was also the highest ever by any team from the University of St. Andrews.


The Sole Sisters decided to register for the autumn Challenge which ran from mid-October to November 2021, after completing the previous edition in Spring and thought it would be a good idea to take up one more challenge before Christmas. Speaking to Rachel on this impressive feat, she described the feeling of winning as very satisfying, saying the team had put in so much effort and this was a delightful reward.  For her, the key to this record-breaking achievement lay in the collective effort put in by the group and sheer determination to win: “We all set challenges for ourselves and encouraged each other”, she said. Completing the challenge was a lot harder than they expected.  Mornings and evenings were prime times to take walks, but the cold and dark autumn days were not always favourable.  The Sole Sisters however stayed competitive and kept on going.  “There were some days I was up at half-six in the morning just to take a walk and meet my target for the day”, Rachel said.


In addition to the excitement that came with competing, the challenge was also an opportunity for team members to bond outside work. Rachel explained that although in the same team for this challenge, their office jobs didn’t cross over as much, and the walk brought them together.  “We got to know each other at a different level”, she added.


The Scotland Step Count Challenge competition runs biannually and was launched by walking charity, Paths for All, in 2011.  The event has had over 30,000 participants and has logged more than 18 billion steps.  The walking initiative involves employers from various sectors across Scotland and challenges teams of up to five members, including a team captain, to compete to have the most cumulative steps by the end of the competition.  The challenge encourages exercise, eco-friendly means of transportation and teamwork. Earlier this year, it was announced that the University of St. Andrews was partnering with the Step Count Challenge and Paths for All in the spring and autumn challenges, to investigate the impact that the event has on people’s health and wellbeing.


The next challenge is expected to begin in spring 2022 and will be an eight-week long competition. Although the eyes of the nation and the university will be on the Sole Sisters, they can enjoy a well-deserved rest this holiday.


Images captured on some of the walks

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