I HAVE been fond of the tortoise mindset, ‘slow and steady wins the race’ and all that, ever since I was struck down with thigh injuries many moons ago while cycling.

So when the idea of a feature on Walking Football came along, I did not leap at the chance, as my body sometimes does not permit it, but I moved slowly into position to get involved, and got in touch with Wiltshire Walking Football head volunteer, Tony Norton, to see if I could tag along. That opportunity came along on a Tuesday night, for a challenge akin to playing Stoke City FC away, at Springfield Leisure Centre in Corsham.

After posing for a photo with the 15 other lads, all of whom were over 50, Tony walked me through the rules. Obviously, players must walk when playing. The ball cannot go over head height. Only the goalkeeper is allowed in the penalty area. No argy-bargy and no touching of the hair or face - just kidding, this is Wiltshire not the set of Anchorman.

What followed was an hour of very questionable walking. Some of the players seemed wind assisted as they trotted along with the ball at a speedy pace - something the referee flagged up several times.

Walking Football is the fastest growing sport in the UK and it is easy to see why. It is accessible to older people, people with injuries like myself, and people of all shapes and sizes looking to boost their fitness. And it’s fun.

“We started in October 2014 in Chippenham and since then it has smashed our expectations,” said Tony. “We average eight-a-side in Corsham and across Wiltshire we have 500 people playing a month. It is very good value for money, as it ranges from £2-3 across the county. Our numbers continue to grow, we have a great team of a dozen volunteers and we are getting in more people all the time.

“We want to start one for women, one for people aged 35-50 and keep on expanding to be as inclusive as possible.”

It wasn’t overly competitive, everyone had a laugh and I was a hattrick hero. Huzzah! So how did I do?

“We all agreed that you were the best under-50 player we have ever had, and the fairest too as you played by the rules,” said Tony. What a compliment - and not a backhander in sight.

To see if there’s a walking game near you, visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-returning-to-sport