I am usually up at 6.30am to walk the dogs, soft-coated Wheaten terriers Bracken and Cotton, before my working day of more walking! The dogs don’t come to work with me as they would be too much of a distraction.
I usually leave home at 9am, having sorted my poles into the car in pairs, checked my rucksack contents and checked the weather forecast. I only cancel for thunderstorms and icy roads; even if forecast rain, it rarely pours for the whole of an hour’s session.
I first encountered the specific technique of Nordic Walking with poles on holiday six years ago. I found a local instructor and enjoyed the extra workout so much that I soon became an instructor myself. Backed by training from Nordic Walking UK, I now take up to 20 classes a week but I keep Thursday as my day off.
My first class is in Delamere forest where the trees are my office. Groups vary from one or two people up to 19, my largest class so far; my husband Ted and trained volunteer assistants help me cope with high numbers. Walkers range from 12-92 years old but with care organising people into the right class for their health, speed and abilities, everyone can enjoy a good work-out.
My husband Ted is a retired cardiologist and I am a trained nurse so with our medical and nursing backgrounds, we feel confident with walkers’ medical problems.
I try to make sure that I talk to all walkers during the session, coach technique or just point out different birdsong and trees. Time flies as we glide through the forest and we often just chat! The social and psychological benefits of a Nordic Walking group are enormous, adding to the real improvements in physical health.
During the day I usually drive to classes in different venues; Frodsham and Helsby parks, various Runcorn and Widnes parks and open spaces and Moore Nature reserve.
Lunch is often on the go with a boiled egg, nuts and little more; I still have to control calorie intake but have much better control of my weight nowadays with all this exercise.
After walking there’s the business to manage; marketing, accounts, social media, risk assessments, taking enquiries and organising events. Our current big project is a Cheshire Nordic Walking Discovery Day at Arley Hall and Gardens near Northwich on June 7.
Ted retired with health problems but is doing well now, so helps with these aspects as well as some walks (and some housework!)
I feel so lucky to have found a second career which keeps me fit and well, meeting lovely people and enjoying green open spaces as the seasons come and go.
Good waterproof walking trainers, waterproof trousers and coat as I walk in all sorts of weather. I carry a large rucksack with me everywhere, filled with first-aid kit, registration/medical cards of all walkers, drinks, chocolate bar or fruit pastilles, blood pressure machine, spare clothing, mobile phone, keys etc. Some of our senior clients have significant medical problems so we take health and safety seriously.
What is the favourite part of your job?
Being outside close to the natural world, watching the seasons change, listening to birdsong, meeting lovely people and hearing their life stories.
What is the least favourite part of your job?
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now?
I am in my dream job but I would quite like to be a prosthetic make-up artist.
How do you relax when you are not working?
Watching movies, walking the dogs, listening to Woman’s Hour, reading novels for my book club.
What is your favourite film?
Last of the Mohicans.
What is your favourite book?
A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche.
What is your favourite song?
Mrs McGrath by Bruce Springsteen in the Seeger Sessions.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you?
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?
No and I don’t want it!!
- Name: Elizabeth Kerley
- Job: Nordic Walking instructor
- Born: Pinner, Middlesex
- Lives: Helsby
- Education: Harrow County School for Girls; nurse training at Guy’s Hospital, London
- Family: Married to Ted Rose with four sons aged 16-22
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