Gillian Beveridge is a prolific MoonWalker – having now completed a dozen of the marathon walks run by #walk1000miles' charity partner Walk the Walk. This is her first year doing #walk1000miles too ...
Number of miles walked (boots on): 977.6 miles (Oooooo so close!)
Weeks until next Walk the Walk Adventure (New York): 5
I write this as I have just returned from my latest Walk the Walk adventure. 11 of us and one member of Walk the Walk staff have just enjoyed the most magical weekend in Disneyland Paris where we completed the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge of walking a 10km on Saturday 22nd September and a half marathon on Sunday 23rd September 2018.
To give a brief summary of my life since the last blog...
I had a surprise visit from four of my Walk the Walk brother and sisters to the beautiful Highlands and after showing them around, we went to Stirling to meet another WTW sister and I left there agreeing to do the Edinburgh Kiltwalk with her in September. I felt this would be a good training walk for New York as I was focusing on the shorter, faster walks with Disneyland Paris on the horizon. This meant that I had committed myself to something every weekend until after New York in November.
On Friday 7th September I was honoured to be asked to attend to attend Maggie’s Centre, Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow to represent Walk the Walk and meet the Duchess of Cornwall who is patron of Maggie’s. She was delightful to talk to and a very beautiful woman. It was heart-warming to be in the Centre and think ‘this is one of the places my fundraising has supported’. It brought a tear to all of our eyes, as we all thought about this at the same time.
I then hotfooted it back up the road to fly to Luton as my weekend of Thames Path Challenge support began. In short it was a weekend where sleep was not an option to any of us, but the sense of pride I felt seeing my brothers and sisters cross the 28km, 50km and 100km finish line more than made up for lack of sleep. I have to give special mention to my fabulous WTW sister Adrijana Owen who after completing the 28km challenge stayed with me all night as we drove around some very strange lanes and alleys to find the various rest stops, I could not have done it without her. Also to my amazing friends who completed the challenges but special mention to Kath Knapper and Andy Hudson – I do not want to know what you talked about between 78km and 88km but whatever it was you were both different people at the last rest stop and the determination you showed to get over the 100km finish line was an inspiration to all of us waiting with hugs for you.
So I then got home to fit in some work for the week before taking part in the Edinburgh Kiltwalk the following Sunday. I have never taken part in one of these challenges before but I was assured it was just a Moonwalk in the daylight. The route was similar to The MoonWalk Scotland in Edinburgh, taking in many of the same sights. We started from Holyrood Park and finished in Murrayfield Stadium. WTW sister Yvonne Paterson is a stalwart of the Kiltwalks so I was happy to follow her lead for this one. We were all kitted out in our Walk the Walk T-shirts and hats as this was our chosen charity. We were also joined at the start line by Tam, who completed the 100km the week before complete with cartwheels at each rest stop. She is a machine and speedy one at that, so after the word ‘Go’ Tam was but a sight in the distance. There were other Moonwalkers completing this challenge and many of the ‘Kilties’ (volunteers) shouted how wonderful it was to see Moonwalkers doing the Kiltwalk. It was a cold and wet walk and quite tough after 15 miles, as I had not walked this far since Iceland. As I was short of leave I had to get the bus back home after the walk. I was polite and had a wash and changed my clothes before I boarded the bus, but I was craving a hot drink – this had to wait until I got back to Aviemore. As with the end of Iceland I lost my voice at the end of the walk. I think it is to do with the cold and my determination to finish.
And so back to work for 3 days before my next adventure - Disneyland Paris.
I was so excited for this challenge as it had so many ‘firsts’ for me. So off I flew to Luton again where I was met by WTW sister Suzie Trew Foster. She was not taking part in the challenge but never one to miss a drink with friends she accompanied me to London to meet with the others. The same applied to Andy Hudson, who came to meet old and new friends at the hotel. He managed to meet some people he will be going to the Arctic with in March and they have arranged a ski lesson together,
All bar 2 of our Disney team were staying at the hotel so this was a great chance to meet up and start the introductions.Of the 11 people taking part I only knew 3 others (Elizabeth, Susan and Tina) but as is always the way there were friends in common.Jen McAllister from Walk the Walk met us at St Pancras on Friday morning with the other 2 walkers.
So on Friday night our team of Elizabeth, Aleta, Sarah, Lucy, Susan, Tina, Mel, Shelley, Ashleigh, Sue and myself under the guidance of Jen made our way to the Expo to register for our challenge. There is also a 5km walk on the Friday night and we would urge WTW to consider including this next year as you then get 5 medals and 5 t-shirts (we got 3 medals and 3 t-shirts) We then met for dinner before we managed to try a few rides from a gentle Pirates of Caribbean water ride to the thrill of Hyper Space Mountain. Wow I loved the rollercoaster. We then managed to catch the Firework Display. Disney does not skimp on things in any respect and this display was breath-taking.
The 10km and Half marathons begin at 7am so you can complete the walk, get back to the hotel for breakfast (a proper one), a swim/ sleep then get back into the park for a day of thrill seeking rides, shopping or general wandering about marvelling at the wonders of Disney. Also both challenges started and finished in the same place. Walking around the side of the Expo and seeing all the Corrals suddenly made things real and once again I had that negative thought of ‘what do you think you are doing here. Look at all these whippet sized runners and YOU think YOU are going to compete with them?’ Of course I am not. As I have stated before my only competition is with myself and each event I want to walk faster than the last and enjoy every experience.
I was so lucky to have my 2nd Task Master who was also my ‘roomie’ Elizabeth Gibson with me. Elizabeth is a mathematical genius and when she is struggling will do mental arithmetic to focus – I kid you not. She had made out pacer bands for both events in km and miles. She told me how I was doing at each point and to hear her say we were getting faster and faster was like spinach to Popeye. I find the first 1.5 – 2km hard as my shins take time to warm up. We were behind time at these points and I was beginning to feel like I was letting Elizabeth down so I told her to go on and I’d catch up. That was not an option and once my shins were warm we were off. We balanced each other out as I found pace as the challenge went on and when Elizabeth was tiring a little I upped the pace and she followed. Once again I have found someone I can walk with and we can support each other through an event.
To see the finish line for the 10km was wonderful and sad as I wanted to keep going. We came in at 1 hour 27mins and 32secs. I was having so much fun walking round the Park, being supported by all the staff and seeing some of the characters. I still cannot get my head around the people who sprint from character to character then wait for 15mins for a photo. For the 10km I had the added bonus of my friend from work and her partner being in Corral A so I was trying to catch them up (the Walk the Walk team were all in Corral D) I knew we would never catch them but the thought of trying kept those legs going. Also that WTW sister Margaret MacLeod and her friends were in Corral E and would be chasing us kept me going.
We remained in Corral D for the start of the half marathon. From the minute I woke up on Sunday morning the nerves kicked in and the negative thoughts were flooding my brain. Could I go fast again? Can I keep up with Elizabeth and not let her down?, can I cope if it really does rain as heavily as forecast? Also as we walked over to the Corral, I let my thoughts turn to why I do all these challenges, the people that keep me going in the tough times, the way my own life has evolved over the last 2 years. And then the tears started. Thankfully it was dark so I could walk ahead alone and take time to compose myself. I was very quiet waiting to start but once we were underway the focus changed to getting through this challenge with dignity and respect. Many people did not understand why we were walking in our bras; others called us brave or thanked us for raising the profile of Breast Cancer. Again the shins took a few km’s to warm up and I was behind pace. Then as each km was passed Elizabeth said those magic words ‘we are 10 secs ahead, 20 secs ahead, 40 secs ahead. By the time we were at 15km we were over 3.5mins ahead of time. I do not know what happened but from somewhere deep inside I just went for it and we pulled out a 13min 50sec mile. As we came around the corner and saw the finish line at 21km Elizabeth said to me ‘if you want to finish in 3hrs 10, you have 1min to get across the line, if you want 3hrs 15mins you have 5mins. I wanted the 3hrs 10 so from nowhere we found the next gear and finished in 3 hours 10 mins and 7 seconds. WOW I still cannot believe that. The half marathon took you out of the park for approx. 9km. There were bands/DJ’s/ cheerleaders along this part and you zig zagged along the road, around a loch then back so you were seeing people ahead and behind you all the time. This was a huge boost for me as I saw most of my Walk the Walk Team Mates who were in front and behind and we could cheer each other on.
The Walk the Walk time limits for these challenges are 1.5hrs for the 10km and 3hr 17mins for the half marathon so I smashed both of these times, something I am very proud of.
And so after receiving our 21km medal we walked backed to the Expo and received our 31km Medal. Each medal is very impressive, heavy and brightly coloured. We all clanged with pride as we walked back to the Hotel. After a leisurely breakfast then showers we had a celebratory party in our room with bubbles and cake then made it into the Park for the Parade. Once again a full on visual spectacular where I had a wink from Bert (Mary Poppins) and a kiss from Nemo. After our meal it was back to the Rollercoasters.
We had most of Monday to ourselves and as we were staying in one of the hotels we were allowed into the Park for Magic Hour (8.30 – 9.30) where we were able to fit in 4 rides before we had to get back for breakfast and check out of the hotel. In the afternoon we managed to get a private photo with Aladdin and Abu, a photo and hug from Scully from Monsters Inc., then the final time on the rides for Aleta and I while the others went shopping.
This challenge is different to all the others as you walk so many miles between the events. In total we walked about roughly 53miles from Friday to Monday including the events. I would urge anyone to use this challenge as a focus for walking faster. You don’t have to love the rides as there are plenty of other things to do (and some gentle rides). I went to Disney knowing four others on the trip and have come home with 10 new friends who I cannot wait to meet once again.
So I am almost at the end of my #1000 miles in 2018 challenge, one more Walk the Walk challenge and we are about to hit October. What a year it has been for me in so many ways but that is it for another Blog. Bye for now and happy walking!