DARLINGTON has become the first town in the country to sign up to a campaign to boost the health of the nation.
Darlington Partnership yesterday pledged to "Take to the Streets" with a revolutionary physical activity initiative led by sporting legend Brendan Foster.
Its board agreed unanimously to support the project, which aims to get two million people involved in regular exercise by 2012, with runners, walkers, dancers and cyclists covering 100 million miles for their health and charity.
Darlington will become a national case study, taking part in a host of mass participation events and be involved in a five- year scientific study to assess the impact of the project.
I hope this campaign is a success, however I worry when activity and exercise are linked to sport and to big, annual events, rather than simply to increasing day-to-day activity. I'm sure that we would see much bigger health benefits were cycling and walking to be a greater part of our everyday transportation, rather than increasing the perception that they are wholy separate parts of our lives.
I know that I'd be hopeless at training to ride something like the Hell O' The North or the Great milk Stout Ride, but by cycling to work and back every day I am fit enough to complete occasional big rides like these.