Walking football has kicked off in Linlithgow.
Taking inspiration from one of the many other groups across the country, Linlithgow Rose Community Football Club now has a committed bunch who are excited to spend their evenings playing a slowed down version of the beautiful game.
John Adams (47), community representative for the club, explained the problems faced when the initiative was first trialled a few months ago.
He said: “For about 10 weeks we tried running the walking football sessions on a Monday morning but were unable to establish a sizeable enough group to sustain the games. I thought we were going to have to end it right there and then.
“However I received a lot of feedback within the local community who were interested but just couldn’t attend at that time.”
The sessions were then moved to 6pm to 7pm and the Linlithgow club has around 10 to 15 players turning up every week.
John then set about trying to obtain some funding for his group and using a successful idea copied from the Broxburn group, he went to local funeral director, Robert Bennie and Sons.
Robert Bennie was present at a recent session to present the players with his cheque that has allowed them to buy bibs with his company name on the front.
He said: “I didn’t think twice about saying yes to John’s proposal. Walking football is a great way for people to stay fit and healthy and it is something I am proud to get behind.”
The sessions take place on the indoor pitch at the newly refurbished rugby club, which John and the rest of the team are very grateful for.
He said: “The facility here is fantastic, we really appreciate the rugby club allowing us to play on their pitch, but we hope we will be able to put funds back into the club as our popularity grows.”
Walking football, despite being a slowed down version of regular football, is still a workout.
John said: “Some of the guys after the game is over check their pedometers and are shocked to see they have walked over three miles in an hour. You don’t realise just how much walking you do.”
The target market for the sport is people aged over 50 but it is not just for men, as John explains: “We have a few women who play and almost all our members are over 50 - some are retired, some still work.
“Basically if you can walk you can play. It is that simple.”
With Linlithgow having an indoor facility, it means the sport can be played all year round and John is hopeful that if the weather stops other groups in the surrounding area from playing they will be more than welcome to play at the rugby club.
He added: “Maybe one day we could play against teams near us, but at the moment there are no plans in place for that.
“We just want to encourage as many people as possible to come and join in the fun.”
Walking football is growing in popularity as seen with the Stenhousemuir group. They have been going for over a year and around 20 people attend their sessions. A women-only group is also being trialled.
Anyone interested in a session should contact John at email@example.com.