Shields counts his steps for Red Cross
‘‘ If I could use who I was to help, then that would be awesome.
Brad Shields is making every step count this month as he takes on a Red Cross Journey challenge.
The Hurricanes loose forward is challenging himself to walk 240km in a month, to follow the journey of a volunteer responding to a disaster like the Edgecumbe floods or the Kaikoura earthquake.
Shields has been involved with the Red Cross since early this year. He didn’t initially know much about the organisation, but was impressed to learn how important its volunteers are and decided to get involved.
‘‘I was keen to create an awareness,’’ he says.
‘‘And if I could use who I was to help, then that would be awesome and that would be a win.’’
The rugby star has taken on the 240km challenge, which is based on the journey of Red Cross Dunedin Disaster Welfare and Support Team member Kath Cosgrove.
He uses a pedometer to count his steps, and a GPS device during training, which will help keep track of his progress.
Shields says the challenge will fit easily around his Hurricanes training schedule. He usually covers six to seven kilometres during training, so is confident of reaching the goal.
‘‘Just to top it off I might do a little walk in evening ... I’ve got a little french bulldog and we tend to take him down to the beach or down to the park on my days off.’’
Later in May the Hurricanes travel to South Africa to play the Bulls in Pretoria, and then face the Force in Perth, but Shields is prepared to adapt to keep his pedometer ticking along.
‘‘When we travel we tend to lighten our training load a little bit so it might be that I need to go for an extra walk,’’ he says.
The body tends to need recovery after a long flight, so the challenge may be a bonus: ‘‘A walk might be just what I need’’.
The other Red Cross Journey challenge is based on the plight of a refugee family fleeing Syria, and covers 1000km in a month.
Challenge participants set up fundraising pages and raise funds, which go directly to Red Cross, while getting in their 10,000 steps a day.
The more distance covered, the more they learn about the real journey of the person they’ve chosen to follow.
Red Cross Journey runs until June 8, but it’s not too late to lace up your sneakers.
‘‘It’s all for a great cause,’’ Shields says.
‘‘And the more money we can raise and the more awareness… there are families that are in some dire need of some help, so if we can raise a little awareness about what Red Cross do it’ll be awesome.’’
Visit redcrossjourney.org.nz to sign up or learn more.
Brad Shields is making every step count this month as he takes on the Red Cross Journey.