MoonWalk blog 7: "Edinburgh done, excitement off the scale for Iceland!"

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Gillian Beveridge is a prolific MoonWalker – having now completed TEN of the night-marathons run by #walk1000miles' charity partner Walk the Walk. This is her first year doing #walk1000miles too, and her 2018 MoonWalks are tumbling beneath her feet! 

Number of miles walked (boots on): 566.1

Days since last MoonWalk (Edinburgh): 4

Days til 3rd MoonWalk of the year (Iceland): 3

Level of excitement: Off the scale for The MoonWalk Iceland,  which starts today as I meet everyone in London!

Hello and firstly let me say one again WELL DONE to all who took part in The MoonWalk Scotland, affectionately known as Edinbra. Whether you Volunteered, walked the New Moon, Half Moon, Full Moon or Over the Moon – yes some people really walked 52.4 miles nonstop and everyone came home in the strict 14-hour time limit.  But an even bigger WELL DONE, THANK YOU and LOVE and RESPECT to everyone at Walk the Walk for the fabulous organisation of this event...

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I have been very lucky this year that the support I have received from my fellow 3 Land Challengers (those doing The MoonWalks in London, Scotland and Iceland) and the Walk the Walk family has kept me going. Especially important in an emotionally tough month as another very good friend received the news none of us want to hear. But this spurs us on to keep walking and keep fundraising. Oh and I signed up for the Big Half in London next year and entered the Ballot for London Marathon.

In a massive turn of events, the North of Scotland has had the longest spell of dry, hot and humid weather, while those in the South have been flooded and cold. This has enabled me to get out in the mornings, walking before work, as I've found it too warm to walk in the evenings.

The training plan for the 3 Land Challenge advises us not to walk more than 14 miles between London and Edinburgh MoonWalks but my Task Master Anne Conrad said if I could manage a 20 mile walk in the 2 weeks after London and before Edinburgh I would find the benefit of it. As I was feeling good, I decided to accept this challenge and walked from my house to my parents. The weather forecast for the Saturday was good for the morning, but not for the afternoon, so off I set at 7am from my house. The route is mainly through woods and I pick up the Speyside Way from Boat of Garten to Grantown on Spey. This is beautiful, with high chances of spotting sheep, lambs, cows, red squirrels, deer and maybe even an Osprey or two if they are home to their summer residence at Loch Garten. 

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I stormed the first 17 miles which takes me into Grantown then I do a convoluted loop around the town to make it 20 miles to my parents. Just after 12 miles the sun came out and the temperature rocked to 22 degrees. It was hot and I was so glad that I had frozen two water bottles the night before, as they were lovely and cold for me to drink from when needed. The last 3 miles were hard as I came near to my parents, then turned away to make sure I completed the 20 miles.  They were delighted to see me and were just beginning to worry, as it was so hot and I am so pale. 

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I only had to do a few smaller walks from then until Edinburgh. I took the 4 legged friend out for 7 miles in the warm weather and introduced him to the river once again.

And so to Edinbra. This is my local walk, I know the route and I have experienced it in all weathers possible for June. But I found it very hard this year. I was so glad to hear others felt the same and none of us really knew why. We have all trained for this and most have done Edinburgh before. The weather was perfect, a bit humid but nothing of concern.

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It was an emotional weekend for me as this was my 10th MoonWalk and I had my inspiration Julie Grant with me, who was the one that encouraged and got me through my 1st Moonwalk. Julie has been such an amazing support and champion of me. She walked the Full Moon with me the first time and has come to Edinburgh and supported me for all bar one of the 5 others there. She even came to support me doing Thames Path 50km, as she was visiting her Aunt in Windsor. This year Julie signed up for the Half Moon with her daughter in law to be. To be in the tent holding her hand for the minute’s silence was so powerful for me and even more so for her.

As before Task Master was in the Tent offering her magic hands in Massage Heaven and was there at the end to award me my medal.  Always a privilege to have a medal from a Rainbow Unicorn Warrior. As we lined up at the start I looked across at Nina who was starting us and spotted Jen McAllister from Walk the Walk. It was so lovely to see her and to get a wave and good luck cheer. You really do appreciate all the support you get from everyone at these events.

And off we went at 11.30pm from Holyrood Park.  First challenge was to get up Arthur’s Seat. Three of us were planning to walk together or play cat and mouse to spur each other on. One doesn’t do hills, so she dropped back with the intention of catching us when we got to the top.  My training is paying off as I felt the power in my legs and kept a steady pace up Arthur’s Seat. I was building a sweat and breathing heavily but I did it and was very happy to get to the top, that is the worst bit of the walk and I love that we do this straight way.

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From the top of the hill you can see right out over Edinburgh. The Castle was lit in Pink for the occasion and the lights from Murrayfield (some old people called the Rolling Stones were playing) were so bright in the sky.  The walk takes you around Edinburgh City Centre before you head to the Sea. What makes Edinburgh different is that members of the public will stand on the street with sweets, tea, hot chocolate for you and cheer you on as you walk past their house at silly o’clock in the morning. This means so much to me as a walker. I ended up doing 21 miles on my own so having the public as well as the volunteers kept me going.

I managed to cross the line in 6hrs 57mins and some seconds which I was initially frustrated with as I wanted to be faster, but actually it was great given how I felt during the walk, After seeing some of the Walk the Walk family come over finish line a few of us went back to hotels to shower and eat then headed back into park to welcome the Over the Mooners home. It was an honour to be allowed to go back in to MoonWalk City and see these amazing people cross the line and form the Tunnel of Love for them.

While chatting to everyone over the weekend, I discovered some have already achieved their #1000 mile target, some are close and some like me are just getting over the half way line. There is no competitiveness in each of our achievements and we are all happy and proud of each other.

On that note I have to congratulate Andy Hudson and Christelle Challinor in completing the Marathon in 5 Hours and 59 minutes. They are quite the power team now.

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We are all home preparing for The MoonWalk Iceland this Saturday and the adventure begins tomorrow/Thursday for us all,  when we will meet with the Iceland crew who are joining the 3 Land Challengers for this magical time. But I will leave that for my next blog.

This year’s 3 Land Challengers have shown real grit and determination to get over the finish line and carry on with some pretty sore injuries.

I would urge anyone who wants a challenge with fabulous support to sign up for next year’s MoonWalk Scotland as a walker or Volunteer. You can still walk roughly 12 miles Volunteering as long as you keep moving.

Til next time – Happy and Safe Walking. Gill.

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