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Cross Country Seniors

What comes with creativity, perseverance, teamwork, determination, and a group of seniors? 

A cross-country walking group! 

Image is courtesy of Marion Rogers.

Marion Rogers, a senior living in an elderly residence home in Calgary, noted that "people living in the residence were getting a little squirrelly. We needed a little something to lighten our spirits." She thought that the only thing to lift her spirits was to go outside for a walk; however, she noticed that it wasn't simple, as many negotiations came after asking the Director of Activities for permission to walk around the building. 

After being granted permission, Marion Rogers and a few others began a virtual, cross-country walking group named the Marda Loopers. They began by measuring their steps each week and converting them to kilometres. Now, the walking group plots the kilometres they have walked collectively on a map, and they have virtually travelled to the Alberta borders to the south, east and west.

We are now aiming for going across Canada. We have to start at one ocean. After we have finished with all four Alberta borders, we are going to go west to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean...then we will come back, hop over Alberta and then keep going east until we can dip our toes in the Atlantic Ocean.

- Marion Rogers, to CBC News

At the moment, they have a goal of reaching the equivalent distance of the west and east coast of Canada. 

Where did the name come from? After a naming contest, which drew 17 ideas, they decided upon Marda Loopers to honour both their community and the fact that they were walking in loops. They have grown from 12 members to 50+ members, and together, they are virtually travelling across the country.

With this walking group comes unity, physical and mental health, new friendships, positive vibes, teamwork, a strengthened appreciation for the outdoors, and a stab at leadership for a few. Lynne MacDonald (statistician), Ed Hemmings (logo maker), Gordon Bandola (analyst and advisor), and Marion Rogers are just a few members who make the Marda Loopers possible. 

This beautiful initiative genuinely demonstrates that age is just a number. Whether you’re young, elderly, or in the middle years of your life, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. The next time you’re having a bad day, remember, “Life isn’t just about darkness or light, rather it’s about finding light within the darkness” (Landon Parham).

Article Author: Michelle Xiao

Article Editors: Olivia Ye, Sherilyn Wen, Valerie Shirobokov