Better late than never

You may remember a while ago I mentioned that I’d be taking part in a 20 mile sponsored walk for the NSPCC in September. You’d be forgiven for not remembering this, because to be honest I’d slightly forgotten about it myself. Now, as our fundraising page helpfully reminds me, there are only 47 days to go, which is slightly horrifying for someone who’s done very little in the way of training :-/

Since my outing to the nice bit of Dartford, I’ve only really done one other ‘proper’ walk, which is when I finally convinced myself, after putting it off for a week, to walk from work (Fulham) to Charing Cross one evening about six weeks ago. It was quite a nice walk of about four and a half miles, up through Chelsea (busy) past Sloane Square (chaotic), through Eaton Square (posh), round by Buckingham Palace (touristy) and finally up the Mall (er… windy? I’ve run out of adjectives). It took me about an hour and 20 minutes, and I felt quite proud of myself when I got on the train. So proud in fact that I’ve never actually done it again… Oops.

Victoria memorial, outside Buckingham Palace

I also walked from Fethiye to Çaliş and back while on holiday in Turkey, which is about two or three miles each way. But given that we did it in nearly 40 degree heat, I reckon that adds at least a mile – right?

Çaliş in the distance, taken as we enjoyed a Diet Coke in preparation for the walk

Anyway, on Saturday my sister Helen, who’s been much more diligent in her training than I have, invited me to join her and her friends for a serious walk of twelve miles. I thought this seemed like an excellent idea, although less so when I learned we were meeting at 8am (on a Saturday! I don’t even know what that looks like).

We set out bright and early from the highly picturesque Hempstead Valley shopping centre (ahem) and headed towards Rainham (we were going for distance, not views); I had no idea where I was going so just followed everyone else and tried to keep up. The first exciting moment came when I looked at my tracking app and thought we’d gone 4.5 miles in 40 minutes, before realising that I’d forgotten to change the distance unit from kilometres to miles. Doh.

Once we got over the disappointment of realising we weren’t actually superheroes, we worked out our new target (19km) and continued on our way, being passed at regular intervals by cyclists, runners and people who hadn’t already walked several miles and were therefore going a lot faster than us.

That said, we didn’t do bad – we made it to the halfway point in under two hours, before turning and heading back. In fact, my legs held out until about the last mile, when they started to protest (I blame the big hill near the end, which took us all by surprise, despite the fact we’d walked down it on the way out). The best bit was when we had to stop at traffic lights, with just a few hundred yards to go, and all instantly seized up. I’d love to know what the drivers thought as they watched us stagger across the road in front of them. Zombie invasion, maybe?

Anyway, long story short – we made it, just as the sky clouded over and it started pouring with rain. And although our final distance was only twelve and a half miles, and my legs definitely didn’t have another seven and a half in them on Saturday, it did make me feel a lot more confident about the walk itself. It also reminded me that I should probably do some more training before the big day, if only to ensure I’m not in agony for a week afterwards.

Our stats

Anyway, said big day is on September 21st; the walk will take us around London enjoying sights like the Tate Modern, Buckingham Palace (been there, done that) and the Royal Parks. It’s in aid of the NSPCC, and we’d be very grateful for any donation, however big or small. Thank you!


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