Kelso fitness fans young and old are being encouraged to work out for free in the fresh air following the creation of the town’s first outdoor bodyweight gym and walk track.
A new £10,000 measured ring path and fitness zone has been created in the town’s Shedden Park, thanks to Ninja Warrior UK television star and skatepark founder Ali Hay.
The 31-year-old unveiled the new fitness zone, between the new playpark and the skatepark this week, having spent months canvassing opinion in his home-town.
“It’s a great wee project,” Ali said. “It’s obviously not on the same scale as the skatepark project, but it has come off the back of it.
“I’d been keeping the plans under wraps because there were various factors that could have seen it not happen, but once the cash was secured, it happened very fast.
“I kind of used a few folk as guinea pigs over the last eight months, using them to gather feedback without them knowing it.”
Ali picked up TSB bank’s community partnership prize at last year’s Pride of Sport awards and was awarded the money off the back of that accolade.
“After the ceremony, I worked with TSB on a lot of media stuff to raise awareness of the skatepark and the award,” he said.
“In light of that, they approached me with some cash for the skatepark. I said that was awesome, but really the park was finished and there wasn’t a lot we could do to it without needing to spend a lot more, but I shared this idea with them instead. I told them if they can get me the promised £10,000, I could make it happen.”
So began a project to build an all-age fitness zone featuring bodyweight exercise equipment and to see the route around the park turned into a measured pathway.
Though part of the path was upgraded when the £230,000 skate park opened there last year, and another section was later resurfaced by the council, the final stretch remained in poor nick.
Ali explained: “I’ve wanted to get the resurfacing complete for a long time, and it’ll soon be done.
“It was in a really bad state and especially hellish for people with walking sticks or frames.”
The ring path will soon feature markers to help people tally up their distance, calories burned and speed.
The fitness zone equipment will feature scan codes linking to online videos demonstrating how it can be best used.
“Not everyone has exercise apps or a gym membership, but they can use this,” Ali, Kelso’s 2018 citizen of the year, said.
“Any age group can benefit and there’s so many different things you can do with the equipment.
“I am pleased to be able to do things like this. The community has put me on this platform and now it’s about how I use it.”
More about Ali’s Pride of Sport award here: https://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/ali-picks-up-pride-of-sport-accolade-at-national-awards-194490
and his Kelso Citizen of the Year award here: https://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/ali-hay-is-named-kelsos-citizen-of-the-year-196199