From Ultra Running to Nordic Walking: A Journey of Adaptation and Resilience

In his youth, the prospect of exercise filled Nordic Walking Instructor John Horton with dread. But as life unfolded, he discovered an unyielding love for pushing his limits. From military training to conquering desert marathons, his journey was one of physical and mental endurance. Then, abruptly, it all came to a halt due to debilitating osteoarthritis. 

Facing a future without the high-impact activity he cherished, John sought solace in Nordic walking. Initially drawn by its promise of calorie burning and muscle engagement, he soon found himself captivated by the freedom it offered to explore the wilderness once again. 

John warming up for parkrun

While Nordic walking couldn't fully replace the thrill of ultra running, it became a new chapter in his fitness journey—one that brought balance and a lot of fulfillment. Following a hip replacement, he returned to the trails, albeit in a different form. Now, his focus shifted to perfecting the art of "trail poling," a graceful blend of walking and pole-assisted movement. 

Reflecting on his experiences, he encourages both runners and walkers to embrace each other's strengths. Runners can learn from the endurance and resilience of walkers, while walkers can push themselves to new heights of exploration and challenge. In a world filled with uncertainty, he believes in the power of physical and mental resilience, embodied by the simple act of Nordic walking. 

As he continues to stride forward, he invites others to join him in embracing the gift of movement and the boundless possibilities it holds. Whether it's a leisurely stroll or an ambitious trek through the wilderness, every step is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. 

 John Horton Nordic Walking Instructor Course

John Horton is a National Trainer for British Nordic Walking. He’s also an Associate Lecturer at Angela Ruskin University and the owner of React Medical Limited. You can meet John on one of his Nordic Walking Instructor courses, or out for a Nordic Walk with Polestars John Horton – British Nordic Walking 


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