‘Walking has helped in so many ways’

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 13.12.40.png

How #walk1000miles rebuilt Jenny Marshall’s relationship with her mum – after 16 years of silence.

My name is Jenny – nickname Elvis. I’m 41, married for 21 years in February, with two children. Amy who is 11 and Lewis who is 17. I was introduced to the challenge by my Aunty Sue, who told me about the Facebook group. It came at a time when I was lost, my fitness had dropped off and I needed to find myself. I needed a challenge that would kickstart my life again.

The relationship I had with my mum had been non-existent for over 16 years. A fall-out in the late 1990s had resulted in all contact being stopped. My wedding, the birth of my children – I made sure she wasn’t a part of any of it. 

But now my own kids were slightly older I thought, what if? I remember going over in my head a way to make contact with Jan. Then I thought, why not ask her if she wanted to go for a walk? 

‘Walking soon became that common interest, and being outdoors gives you something positive to think about rather than your problems.’

It happened very slowly. We had nothing in common to begin with, and I didn’t want to get my family involved until I knew that no one was going to get hurt. But walking soon became that common interest, and being outdoors gives you something positive to think about rather than your problems. Walking has helped in so many ways. Not only with fitness and mental well being, but helping to mend our relationship. 

Mum and I have been to lots of new place this past year, both together and apart, making new, happy memories. I’ve taken control of my own issues, and mum has faced and overcome some challenges I never thought possible for her. Like climbing  Pen y Fan ªin the Brecon Beacons in South Wales – the highest place in southern Britain) with a dodgy heart, with my Aunty Sue, who’s unwell also. I am so proud of her for that. Which is something I wouldn’t have said years ago!

How has walking gone down with my own family? Well, teenage boys will only come out if food is on the cards, but Lewis is getting better at spending time with us oldies. My daughter likes the walks we do. I tend to make a spot it game, which keeps her focused, and I get to teach her things without her realising!

Or she map reads, which on occasion has led to a few wrong turns, but it’s all part of the fun. Hubby Dave is usually lurking somewhere in the background, itching to route-march, while I make videos, or take pictures of fungus.

Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 13.13.13.png

I’ve had so many memorable moments this year. Losing my shoe in the mud after a detour went wrong. Seeing strangers reactions to my outburst of reaching a walking milestone, which usually ends up in me telling everyone about the #walk1000miles challenge. Tense face-offs with farm animals. But one of the best memories is watching mum and my daughter, holding hands, walking in front of me talking away without a care in the world. It’s something I never thought would happen.

The future for me now is onwards and upwards. For mum and I, keep building our relationship, and discover new places and walks. Because I now realise while you can’t change the past, you can move forward and change the future. For me, maybe a mountain or two if my nerves will allow. And of course another year of #walk1000miles, the challenge that saved me from
a dark patch and brought together my family.