WHEN Diana Forsyth came up with a wacky way to mark her birthday – she says it changed her life.
The mum of four had been dreading turning 60 until she started brainstorming ways to celebrate the occasion.
When a pal came up with 60 ways to travel a mile Diana loved the idea and planned to undertake five challenges a month in the year leading up to her 60th.
Her 60 mile mission included everything from segways and skis, tandems and shopping trolleys, horses and helicopters, bikes and buses.
She’s now written a book about the year she spent travelling a mile 60 different ways and says the challenge has made her feel younger and fitter than ever.
Diana, 62, from Hook in Hampshire said: ‘ I used to be down about getting old but my 60 different ways to travel a mile challenge has changed all that.
‘I’d been dreading my birthday but it tuned out to be one of the best years of my life thanks to this.
‘I roped all my friends and family in. Even my dad Dennis who is 91 came on a helicopter with me and loved it.
‘Some were easier than others, the sky dive was the most terrifying but I still did it.’
Diane says she first started feeling glum about ageing when she turned 60.
She says: ‘ I’d always been negative about getting old. I was lucky enough to have good health and a job I loved as well as four lovely sons and a husband but I still hated feeling old.’
She says approaching 60 was even worse and one day as she travelled win a car with her friend she mentioned she was thinking about doing something for her 60th the following year.
Diana said: ‘ We started brainstorming ideas and when she said 60 ways to travel a mile I loved it straight away.’
Then they began thinking of all the ways – walk, train, escalator, trolley, pogo, sky dive, zip wire.
She started in January 2014 hoping to complete five different miles per month until her 69th birthday in November 2014.
Diana wrote a journal chronicling her adventures which included family and friends.
She said: ‘ As I went up in the helicopter with dad and rode a train with my son I realised how lucky I was to be having fun with the people I love.’
It wasn’t all fun though – like the time she had to travel up and down the escalators at Reading train station until she reached a mile.
Or the time she threw herself out of the plane for the skydive.
‘That was the quickest mile I travelled,’ she said.
She says the funniest was travelling a mile in a shopping trolley from their local supermarket.
She said: ‘ Everyone was staring as I clambered in and my husband Charlie began pushing me around the car park.
‘But we didn’t stop until we finished the mile.’
On her birthday itself Diana had left the ‘stair’ challenge but to make it extra special husband Charlie, 69, suggested she climb all the stairs at the Eiffel Tower to complete the challenge of one mile in steps.
She says: ‘ When I reached a mile I was beaming. I’d walked to the very top and then back down again and couldn’t think of a better way to mark turning 60 after such an incredible year.’
She used the journal to start writing a book which she hopes will encourage others to mark getting older in an wacky way.
She said: ‘ It turned me from a negative person into a happy person and I hope it inspires others.
‘Since then I’ve done the London to Brighton bike ride and taken part in an assault course, things I never dreamed I would be doing in my sixties.
‘I used to be down about getting old but now I see age is just a number and life is what you make it.’
60 miles : My Trials and Smiles, under Diana’s pen name Sophie Johnson is on Amazon now.