Innovation Exchange

Inverclyde Million Miles Challenge


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

The Inverclyde Million Miles Challenge saw individuals, schools, businesses and community groups across Inverclyde aim to walk a million miles in one year. It was the first community challenge of its kind in Scotland.

The challenge was designed to promote the health and wellbeing benefits of being active and help Inverclyde achieve its target of having the most active population in Scotland by 2020.


The idea came from World Walking, a charity set up to encourage people to walk more (which itself grew out of local exercise group, Inverclyde Globetrotters, based at Inverclyde Leisure’s Waterfront Gym in Greenock). The World Walking website and app was used to record the distance walked by participants and show the progress made against the target.


The Inverclyde Million Miles Challenge was launched on 11 August 2016 to coincide with the Rio Olympics. The goal was to reach one million miles by the end of the challenge on 30 June 2017.


In fact, the target was exceeded with 1,061,810 miles walked by the end of the challenge.

World Walking logo

Theme: Health and Social Care

World Walking originally approached Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership and CVS Inverclyde with the idea for the challenge as they had existing relationships with both organisations. A small multi-agency steering group was set up to oversee the challenge. This included representatives from CVS Inverclyde, Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership, Inverclyde Globetrotters and World Walking. Other key partners were Inverclyde Council and the Inverclyde Leisure Trust.


The challenge was funded by Awards for All Scotland and Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership, which each provided £10,000. Among other things, the funding was used to appoint a part-time co-ordinator, who was managed by CVS Inverclyde.


World Walking set up a landing page for the challenge on its website which allowed people and groups to register for the challenge and log their miles walked. This page automatically collated the distances entered and displayed their contribution to the million miles target.


Distances walked (or ran, cycled or swam) could be logged on pedometers, activity trackers, mobile phones or the World Walking app.


The challenge was promoted using a mix of face-to-face engagement, social media, local press, partners’ networks and word-of-mouth. The co-ordinator visited local community groups, schools and workplaces to encourage them to take part.


Primary schools were encouraged to take part using their ‘Daily Mile’ distances to complete virtual walks on World Walking, including one from Scotland to Malawi created in collaboration with the Scotland Malawi Partnership.


Inverclyde Leisure agreed to promote and support the challenge. It used distance trackers installed on the cardiovascular equipment in three of its gyms to contribute to the challenge, as well as through one of  its weekly ‘Fit for Life’ classes and one of its running groups.


Inverclyde Council helped organise communications around the challenge including a full-page advert in the Autumn 2016 edition of its own paper, In View, which is delivered to every home in the area. The Provost, Robert Moran, launched and fronted the challenge. The council also organised a celebratory event on completion of the challenge with all participants invited. At this, participating primary schools were given a trophy and community groups were given a certificate to recognise their contribution.

By the end of the challenge on 30 June 2017, 1,061,819 miles had been logged by participants – the equivalent of walking to the moon and back twice!


Over 250 individuals and 64 groups took part in the challenge. They included schools, fitness groups, walking clubs, golfers, hockey players, workplaces, community groups and groups supporting people with long-term health conditions.


Maureen O’Neill Craig, Health Improvement Lead at Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement that the people of Inverclyde exceeded the ambitious Million Miles target. This challenge is a great example of what can be achieved through working in partnership to get people more physically active, which is essential for good health.”

World Walking had previously supported health walks so knew the approach and its technology worked if people engaged with it. Getting this engagement was key and having a proactive, enthusiastic co-ordinator helped in this regard as personal contact was the most effective way of persuading people to take part.


Creating a bespoke landing page on World Walking which automatically collated all the activity and allowed everyone to see the progress worked well.


Other successful aspects were:


  • A small steering group which met regularly to drive the project
  • The support of the health improvement team at Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership, which worked closely with the project co-ordinator


The only suggested change for future challenges would be to make more use of local media.

World Walking is encouraging other areas to carry out their own community challenges.


The organisation’s big goal is to encourage Scotland to (virtually) walk to Mars!, At 50,000,000 miles, it calculates that if every person in Scotland walked 10 miles, it would reach its goal.



Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Duncan Galbraith

World Walking

Case study added to site: Sept 2017

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