BEATING THE STREETS . . . Annan Athletic FC first team squad members prepare to swipe the cards before setting off on their round the town run on Tuesday night. Left to right: Karen Robertson, Annan Athletic trainer and nutritionist; Jim Chapman, manager; Billy Bentley, goal-keeping coach; Steven Sloan; Benjamin Wagner; Steven Black, captain; Scott Norman; Daniel Wadge; Dan Wood; Jamie Watson; Stuart McColm; Josh Todd; Connor Liddle and Terry McClelland, kit man
The town has mobilised an amazing 37 per cent of the population into walking, running or cycling between so-called ‘beat boxes’ where participants’ progress is monitored using swipe cards.
That is a larger response than achieved in other towns and cities across the country where the initiative has also proved successful.
And on Tuesday night, members of Annan Athletic FC’s first team squad gave the initiative a further boost.
They began their main weekly training session by registering for a Beat the Street swipe card, picking up a map and running between the 20 beat box sensors around the town.
Athletic manager Jim Chapman, pictured left, said: “It’s a fabulous project. I’m delighted to see it is being so well supported. It is important for Annan Athletic to be at the heart of the community and we are glad to be involved.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council is funding the health-promoting initiative, which is also running in Dalbeattie, and is being supported by sponsors including the Annandale Observer.
Beat the Street project manager Sue Ingham described a ‘real buzz’ in the town about the scheme — which continues to October 12 — and urged more people to register to collect points.
She said: “The response in Annan is amazing — we even had to order more swipe cards and increase our predicted estimate for total miles covered.
“The good weather, like that we have tonight, has been a bonus but the concept itself has proved really successful in reminding people of the benefits of even gentle exercise and getting out and about in communities.”
She added that ‘lucky taps’ had been introduced awarding some players random prizes while ‘double point’ stages were being designated from time to time.
Resident Susan Coupland pointed out that street conversations galore were an additional social benefit. She said: “I went to put my bin out last night and didn’t get back in for half an hour.”
SETTING THE PACE . . . Annan Athletic first team players
Annan man Philip Bertram added that people of all ages seemed to be particpating.
Meanwhile, Annandale and Eskdale area committee chairman, councillor Ronnie Ogilvie, revealed: “Annan has collectively walked more than 38,000 miles so far and I can understand why — I’m hooked too.”
While fresh air, social interaction and exercise have proved a triple positive, Beat the Street also offers the added incentive of significant additional prizes for team participants, including for schools and other community groups.
Swipe cards are available from locations including the GP surgeries, Annan Town Hall, Annan Swimming Pool, Annandale Observer Office, Public Library, Annan Museum and Tesco.
POLICE BEAT . . . two Annan officers swipe their Beat the Street cards