Natalia Albert's life was changed by long-distance walking and now she is helping Wellington women transform their lives for a good cause.
With the Wellington Womens' Walking Project she hopes to gather 100 women to walk with her in the 2013 Oxfam Trailwalker in Taupo.
Ms Albert, of Khandallah, said participating in the walk would give people the opportunity to improve their fitness and self-confidence while raising money for Oxfam.
The 100km walk must be completed in 36 hours.
"Oxfam has come up with a way of fundraising by getting people to do this life-changing thing for themselves. By helping yourself, you're also providing resources to underprivileged countries," she said.
Ms Albert, 30, originally from Mexico City, caught the walking bug after trekking across Spain five years ago.
When she arrived in New Zealand in 2011 she entered the Oxfam Trailwalker, but did not finish the race. She was determined to try again, with a bigger support crew.
Thus was born the Wellington Women's Walking Project. She began by emailing all the women she knew in Wellington and proposed they tackle six major walkways in preparation for the 2013 Oxfam event.
"Six people showed up for the first walk, and 25 for the second one. Then I thought, 'What if I go big and invite 100 women to the Trailwalker?"'
Ms Albert is promoting the project through Facebook, Twitter, Meetup.com, her personal blog and local information sessions. Her walking buddies range in age from 20 to 70.
She plans to organise two big walks for charity - the length of the North Island in 2014, and the length of the South Island in 2015.
She will be hosting an information evening at Onslow College on December 1 at 10am.
- The Wellingtonian