A Challenge Event Walk this year? Really, Me!?
Well yes, why not?
I hear you cry:
"I'm not fit enough for that stuff!", "I'm too old", "I would end up failing & making a fool out of myself", "I don't have the time" etc. etc...........
I used to say all those things & also added, (add the whining voice for full affect!) ; "I'm just not that competitive & am happy just doing things on my own"
I'm pretty sure a lot of you guys reading this would also say these things yourselves when it comes to the possibility of signing up to a sponsored, or organised public walking challenge walk event, right?!
Please, I ask you to 'hear me out' on this one, as my experience has changed my thinking on this over the last couple of years.
I took part in the 'Trek 26' Challenge walk for Alzheimer's in the Brecon Beacons a few years ago at the side of my good friend Julia.
I can't exactly remember how we ended up signing up for it, but there was definitely a 'Lets defy our middle age'
, sentiment in the mix!, & also a drive to raise awareness to support research into this heart-breaking disease which affects so many people's families, including my own.
I wasn't a qualified walk leader then & it really did seem like a huge thing to attempt. 26 miles up the highest mountain in South Wales, what really!!
I'd walked a fair old way in my time, but not recently, and certainly not involving that kind of elevation. I'm approaching 50 years old now and the last time I had done anything vaguely like this was when I was a 20-something without 2 kids, and the peri-menopause to consider, what had I done, I thought!
I took the plunge and posted on social media asking for support. It was public now and there was no backing out!
Julia & I started to walk as often as we could increasing the mileage and trying out some of the route. The months rolled by and as we walked, we talked through our 'game plan': what to wear, what to eat, when to pee! etc. Our friendship deepened and the world & our lives began to be seen in better perspective as the natural world around us in the awesome Nation Park soothed our minds and hearts. With every walk my fitness increased, I started to loose some extra weight, & I can honesty say having that date set in my diary had started to become a blessing.
The day came! We got there so early it was dark when we got to the car park along with hundreds of others, all very nervous but excited to get going. I worried we wouldn't finish, I worried we would not make it back in daylight, but all of a sudden we were off!
I found the route really tough, but after, what seemed like a lifetime, we finished! We were both filled with relief and a pure sense of exhilaration. What a day! One I will never forget. I had also shared a sense of companionship with all those hundreds of others that we walked alongside on that awesome route for a common cause.
I personally gained so much from taking part in the walk. It gave me a goal and a focus, giving me a reason each week to put the boots and waterproof on, despite the weather, and get out there experiencing the changing seasons by putting one foot in front of the other alongside a fantastic friend.
I urge you, no matter what your age, background or ability, to consider this year signing up to an event walk. It will probably take you out of your comfort zone, but that's ok, really it is! We all need a little nudging sometimes! Putting a firm date in your diary will certainly focus your mind, and making it a public thing will also increase your commitment. There are so many event walks to choose from in just in our local area, There are much longer/harder routes than the one I walked, but also much shorter and easier walking event too. Something for everyone. They are all extremely well organised with refreshments and first aid on hand.
If you sign up let me know, it would be great to hear your story about this year!
Here are just a few to choose from:
22nd April Black Dragon Challenge Walk 19 miles, 26 miles or 30 miles (Crickhowell)
13th May Big Black Mountains Challenge 17km, 30km or 45km (Llanthony Abbey)
21st May The Malverns End to End Challenge 11 miles
10th June Golden Valley Charity Walk 13 miles, 7.5 miles or 5.6 miles (Dorstone)
1st July Trek26 Brecon Beacons 13 miles or 26 miles (near Brecon)
Go people go! Good luck!
MTA Lowland Walk Leader
Since becoming a qualified walk leader I had the privilege of helping to train someone else to achieve this same event walk, and I am so proud of my client Sadie's achievement. She is also testament to the power of a firm goal and some good old fashioned determination. She is an inspiration to all of us as well. You did it, you are amazing!!