‘No-one was going to stop me finishing’
May was the month of the iconic MoonWalk London. I had declared that The MoonWalk Iceland 2018 would be my last MoonWalk – I would still walk for breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, but the overnight element was catching up with me every time…I no longer really enjoyed them.
However, fate always plays a part in life and the fact that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2018 meant that there was only one place I could be on the night of 11th May 2019 - in MoonWalk City with my MoonWalk family ready to walk another 26.2 miles!
It was great meeting up with everyone at the start – it really did feel like a massive family reunion; lots and lots of hugs. The plan was to walk with three great friends – Jacqueline (who I had met on a London to Brighton walk); Maria (who I had met at WTW’s 3 Land challenge and various other challenges) and Morgane (a first time Moonwalker who I worked with at Jaguar Land Rover).
At about 11pm, we were about to start – it was a great night for walking, not too cold and no rain!!!! All was going fine until I had a total meltdown at mile 18, mentally I was a broken woman – there was no way could I walk another 8 miles. This is where the true spirit of Walk the Walk friendship came into play…all 3 of us agreed that we should sit down for 5 to 10 minutes, something I would never have considered doing before. After 5 minutes of sobbing from me, I decided I was getting cold and we should start walking again. How I got to Sloane Square (just before mile 22) I don’t think I’ll ever know, other than these 3 fantastic ladies got me there and were never going to leave me.
A 20 minute queue for the toilet (sorry ladies) and we were off again…the sun was shining and the birds were singing…I was going to do it!! The final 4 miles went in a relative flash and we were once again approaching Clapham Common.
I don’t remember what Jacqueline said to me on the finish line but tears appeared again, along with another massive hug. I finished in tears, but I felt so proud…a MoonWalk completed, just 4 months after finishing radiotherapy.
I can confirm this was my 15th and last MoonWalk. Walk the Walk are still my chosen charity and I will still walk mile after mile for them and continue to raise money for them, but overnight MoonWalking is over. The closing of a fantastic chapter.
So, there I was at the end of another month…a total of 289 miles walked to date. I was on track with my tracker to get me to 1,000 miles, but there is still a long way to go. June was the month where my mileage needed to increase significantly. The month of training for the Nijmegen Marches in July – no events, just mile after mile of training.
The first training weekend saw me walking around Pitsford reservoir – my aim was to walk 2 laps – 13 miles…however after the first lap I was bored with my own company. I realised that if I was going to manage all of the training on my own, I needed to find another route.
The next few weekends saw me walking the beautiful Northamptonshire lanes around Daventry - who knew the villages were so beautiful…and so hilly!! The month of June saw a total mileage of over 100 miles – I was still on target to get to 1,000. I can however see myself walking on New Year’s Eve to get the final miles.
July arrived – the month for the focus of all my training since I finished radiotherapy…the month of the iconic Nijmegen Marches in the Netherlands. I would be walking 160 km over 4 days, or in imperial terms 100 miles over 4 days – whatever, it is a long way!
Meeting up with the rest of the fabulous Walk the Walk team is always emotional – meeting old friends, but also meeting some new friends…who you know will become long term friends/family. This walk for me epitomises Walk the Walk and the friendship and camaraderie that exists within the Walk the Walk charity.
The four days were full of emotion, aches, pains and lots of laughter and singing. A team of 17 - along with ‘The Special One’ (aka Guy from Walk the Walk) and ‘Ask Me for Anything and I will find it One’ (aka Jen from Walk the Walk). This year was my fourth start at Nijmegen and I was hoping for my third finish. This year’s team was a truly special team. We have to walk together, which is not easy, we have to rest together, again difficult to coordinate, and at the end we party together.
Over the four days we saw true teamwork…from Day One getting to know each other, the depths of the second day that took us 10 hours to complete…to the unbelievable third day when we truly walked as a team, only took 8 hours and we were second team to finish, to the final celebratory day. Where else in the world can you walk with 40,000 other walkers and finish the final day being greeted by crowds that in places were four/five deep and were watching from roof tops.
I personally struggled with an injury towards the end of Day three…but I finished and no-one was going to stop me finishing on Day four and getting that medal (well the number 3 badge that I add to my second year’s medal!). Just under six months ago I was finishing radiotherapy for breast cancer and here I was having finished the Nijmegen Marches. I can honestly say I am proud of my achievements. A truly great group and we all finished!!!
Where am I in terms of my getting to 1,000 miles? Well I’m over the half way mark – I’m at 511 miles, behind where I wanted to be. However, at the end of the day when I think about how I started the year and what I have come through, every mile is a bonus. And to add to it, I have raised just under £3,500 for Walk the Walk this year!