Parish Walkers: put your best foot forward

FEET FIRST: Orthotist Robin Perrie is one of the experts lined up to give free practical and medical advice

FEET FIRST: Orthotist Robin Perrie is one of the experts lined up to give free practical and medical advice

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IT’S an annual event that sees ordinary people put themselves through extraordinary feats of endurance.

The Parish Walk is 85 miles of gruelling pavement pounding, and even for those only aiming to cover a more modest distance, the impact on the feet and toes shouldn’t be underestimated.

To help walkers of all levels prepare, staff of The Foot Health Clinic and retailer Up and Running, both in Douglas, have come together to arrange free Parish Walk information evenings which will address both practical and medical considerations.

Walkers can attend one of six sessions, to be held at The Foot Health Clinic, Lake Road, tomorrow evening, May 4 and May 18, and at Up and Running, Buck’s Road, on April 27, and May 11 and 25.

Each runs from 6pm to 8pm and will feature short presentations from orthotist Robin Perrie, podiatrist Sarah Andrews, a physiotherapist and Chris Gale and Lisa Motley from Up and Running, followed by questions from the public.

Chris and Lisa are themselves veterans of the event, Chris in fact is aiming for his tenth consecutive finish in June, and will draw on his experience for the presentation.

‘It’s such a long walk, so it’s all about efficiency; in nutrition, clothing and walking style,’ said Chris.

‘Make sure your clothing is breathable so your body is not wasting energy regulating temperature.’

He added: ‘Fifty miles into the race your body doesn’t take kindly to solid foods, so keep it simple.

‘Liquidy soups are easy to break down, so energy is spent on propelling your muscles forward, not digesting food.’

Foot care-wise, podiatrist Sarah will address blisters, dressings, and preventing infection. The repetitive impact means toenails are often casualties of the walk, along with skin.

‘Most people are going to get some kind of issue,’ said Sarah. ‘Blisters can be down to footwear, but it can just be your skin type, being particularly sweaty or dry.’

The Foot Health Clinic’s Lisa Perrie believes many people underestimate the challenge the Parish Walk, including herself.

‘I supported someone last year who I thought would complete it no problem, but by Jurby they were absolutely finished,’ said Lisa.

‘Lots of people want to know how to survive on the day. Should they change socks, what should they do if their toenail falls off, is Vaseline a good idea? Hopefuly people will ask lots of questions.’

Lisa continued: ‘Robin is extremely specialist, the island is lucky to have him. He’ll go in depth into the biomechanics of feet and ankles.’

But for all the health concerns, the fact remains the Parish Walk is a fantastic event for athletes and novices alike.

‘It’s a great thing to be part of,’ agreed Lisa. ‘The atmosphere is amazing!’

Call 620712 or email info(at)fhc.co.im to book a place on one of the information evenings.

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