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 red­crossjour­ to sign up or learn more.

Brad Shields is mak­ing ev­ery step count this month as he takes on the Red Cross Jour­ney.

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