MoonWalk blog 6: "How many people can say they have walked past Buckingham Palace in their bra and not been arrested?"

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Gillian Beveridge is a prolific MoonWalker – having now completed nine of the night-marathons run by #walk1000miles' charity partner Walk the Walk. This is her first year doing her 1000 miles too, and her first MoonWalk of 2018 is done! 

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Number of miles walked (boots on): 431

Weeks til 2nd MoonWalk of the year (Edinburgh): 4

Level of excitement from London Moonwalk:   10

Hello once again from a relieved Gill. Firstly, let me say a massive Well Done and Thank You to all the Walk the Walk staff, volunteers and ambulance crews who worked tirelessly throughout Saturday until Sunday afternoon supporting every single London Moonwalker.

I write this as I’m sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting to fly back to Inverness. On Saturday night/Sunday morning I completed my first MoonWalk of this year (9th in total). The MoonWalk London starts and finishes in Clapham Common. If you were in this area over the weekend you cannot have missed the Massive Pink Tent (MoonWalk City). My walk this year was a totally different experience than last year and I’m delighted to report a) I did a good time for me and b) I remember most of the route. Last year nerves and not knowing anyone made my walk a long one, where I felt very alone. This year my Walk the Walk family ensured I was never alone.

For the week before The MoonWalk I wanted to keep up my motivation and mileage, so having the Bank Holiday Monday off, I borrowed the family dog and we had 10 wonderful miles in the sunshine. I even managed to get him to go into the river to cool down as he is not used to water as yet.  I then had one morning 4 mile walk along with my circuit and cross training class. I felt physically ready for London this year which helped enormously.

A few of us met on Friday night for a catch up and few drinks (sorry Nina - founder of Walk the Walk). I hadn’t seen 2 of the ladies since last June, but it didn’t feel like that as we chatted away about life in general, as well as feelings for the walk ahead.

The nerves had kicked in last Monday and were not helped on Saturday as the rain arrived in London. I’ve walked in rain before, obviously as I live in the Highlands, but given the good will of the thousands of people walking, you really hope someone upstairs takes pity on us all and ensures a dry walk. And our lucky charm Andy Hudson was with us. This man has never had a wet MoonWalk. It has rained before, but he is so fast he finished before the rain comes on.

I have been honoured this year to have the walking number 1. I keep this number for all 3 Land Challenges, so for The Moonwalks in London, Edinburgh and Iceland, I am number 1 Thankfully I don’t have to finish first.

Our hopes, prayers and blessings were answered, as the rain stopped at 10pm and it stayed dry all night. I was also honoured to be invited in to the guest tent. This was so lovely and it meant I managed to meet up with Jen from Walk the Walk who has been an amazing support for me. After a wee photo shoot and use of the lovely toilets I headed back to main tent as I had so many friends to catch up with.

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My task master Anne Conrad was team leader for one of the massage heaven sections so I had a few hugs and last minute advice from her. I also met a lady I worked with 10 years ago in Bridgend, South Wales.

We hold a minute silence before we all set off for those we love and have lost to breast cancer.  This is a very poignant moment and not many dry eyes at this point, but it’s a great excuse for more hugs.

As a 3 Land Challenger, we are allowed to set off in Start 1, which means we can get away about 10.30pm. This is fantastic as London is a very busy walk. Unlike the London Marathon, roads are not closed off. This would cost thousands and isn’t it better that money is used for research and treatment than letting you get away a bit faster? Yes, it’s frustrating at times and the first few miles until Battersea Park are 19 minute miles, but it gives you the push to speed up once you are in the park. After Battersea Park we walk along the Thames to Tower Bridge. It is wonderful to see buildings lit up in pink just for us.

A massive difference for me this year was having my Walk the Walk family. We have an unwritten rule. We all love each other dearly, but we walk our own walk at our own pace. I met Elizabeth Gibson at Dublin last year and we are sharing a room in Disneyland Paris in September. This is yet another amazing person who not only completed the Half Moon ( in London this is 15.1 miles instead of 13.1 usual distance in Edinburgh) and kept me at pace, but after a cuppa and a quick change she volunteered at mile 23 with Emma and Anna - also amazing ladies. I had completed a Facebook quiz to name my favourite 10 music albums, one of which was The Wombles. So Emma and Elizabeth sang ‘Wombling Along’ to me as I reached them. That and the mini eggs were just what I needed to finish the last 3.2 miles.

The MoonWalk London route takes you past some of London’s best sights. How many people can say they have walked past New Scotland Yard, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, Harrods, Albert Hall, and Sloane Square in their bra and not been arrested? I managed to keep good pace for the whole walk and as I approached mile 20 I felt I had the power in my legs to speed up. This is thanks to the training plan from Walk the Walk, but also to my #1000miles challenge. Signing up for this has meant I’ve kept training and will do all year as a) I have to do my 1000 miles and b) this is only Challenge 1. I’ve another 4 to go before the end of November.

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I knew Anne and Angela were at the end giving out medals, so I pushed on knowing I could get my 7hr marathon and my medal from Anne. This was very emotional for me, as Anne has helped me so much this year. I was even more delighted to see some of my Walk the Walk family waiting at the finish line with hugs and congratulations all round. My other WTW sister Kath Knapper was walking with her friend in the second start, so I waited for her to come in and was able to award her, her well-deserved medal.

After ensuring all the WTW family were home safe, I headed back to the hotel for a hot shower, porridge and some sleep. Two WTW sisters carried on after the MoonWalk to complete another 10 miles as they are training for London to Brighton 100km in 2 weeks’ time. There are quite a number of us completing the #walk1000miles challenge and we are all at different stages of this, but we encourage and support each other.

After each event I come back down to earth with a bump and although delighted with my efforts, I often feel a bit sorry for myself. Yesterday I received a very poignant message from a Walk the Walk sister which brings to the fore why we all chose to walk a marathon in our bra. I have nothing to complain about.

A fantastic weekend has come to an end but it’s only 4 weeks until we do it all again in Edinburgh, with a few hills thrown in. To those who also completed The MoonWalk London, well done and that’s another 26.2 added to our #walk1000miles total!

To my Walk the Walk family I love you all and thanks for everything you do for me. Talk again after Edinburgh ❤️👣❤️👣

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• Want to turbocharge your 1000 miles and have a night to remember forever? Sign up to do a a MoonWalk.

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