On the 21st July this year I made my Morgan McKinley Million pledge to raise £400 for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance who carry out life saving work for sick and injured people in South East England and surrounding areas
I took part in the 100km Thames Path Challenge and smashed my target, managing to raise £505.
The Morgan McKinley Million is our pledge to raise the equivalent of €1,000,000 by 2018 to charities and worthy causes across the Morgan McKinley global network. We want to help others by raising money, volunteering and collectively coming together to help.
Now that I have finally recovered, I wanted to share my experience of taking part in this challenge.
Day 1 - 1st 50km
- Early start, left home at 5am, feeling excited.
- 7.20am, Saturday - Putney Bridge. Quick aerobics warm up and we’re off!
- Big crowds of participants for the first leg, 3,500 people taking part today, great atmosphere. Quick stop for pastries and bananas at the first rest site and we are off again.
- 15k - rain starts in earnest, getting pretty wet but still having fun.
- Blisters start to appear before midday and the lunch stop at 28k comes as a welcome relief.
- 32k marker! Longest distance we have achieved in training so into the unknown now!
- Very tough, tired, in pain and when we get to the final rest stop before the finish its starting to get dark.
- 38k – set off on the last leg of the day. Its pitch black, not ideal when you’re walking along a river bank, but despite us both being the clumsiest people in the work we manage not to trip over any tree roots and fall in the river!
- Counting down the km markers now. Have to lift up my legs with my arms to negotiate some stairs up to a bridge over the river, as they don’t seem to want to move.
- 50k marker! We spot it up ahead, can barely see it the dark but that’s definitely it!
- 8.13pm Saturday - arrive at Runneymede Park, Egham. Hot meal in the event marque and then off to our hotel to fall straight into bed (after a cheeky glass of red). Got to do it all again tomorrow!
Day 2 - 2nd 50km
- Extremely early start - as usual I over organise things and we are the first people there.
- Very cold – wrap ourselves in space blankets from the medical tent.
- 6am and we’re off again. Smaller crowd today, quite a lot of participants haven’t made it to the second day.
- It’s hard going, muscles so tight I can barely move my legs, my feet are in bits, even my blisters have blister on them and the soles of my feet are so painful! At this stage I really don’t know I’m going to make it through another 50k.
- Beautiful morning - the sun comes up as we are walking along and the morning mist is still floating over the river.
- 63k - 1st rest stop. We spot a chap called Phil who we made friends with at the start. He is suffering quite a bit, worried he won’t make it. “Why are we doing this” he jokes. “For those that can’t” my partner replies. Phil is walking to raise money for a charity caring for his wife, who has cancer. We wish him well on his way as he sets off on the next stage. “Good luck Phil, we know you can do it!”
- Walking on and on as the hours pass slowly, each km seems to take longer and longer, the painkillers are having no effect, we are knocking back the energy drinks and pouches, there is a strong smell of deep heat.
- Close shave with a herd of cows and a couple of bulls keeps us on our toes. Who let them out to wander across the public footpath? “Quick! Run!” I shout from my safe position behind the next gate. So, who thought it would be a good idea to stop and film them! They never learn do they, ha ha!
- 75k marker - getting by on pure determination now, every part of my mind and body is screaming for me to stop walking, the pain in the soles of my feet is intense, each step feels like I’m walking across broken glass.
- We can’t fail, we won’t fail! We’ve come this far and won’t let down all those people who have sponsored us. Donations are still coming in as we walk, as are the messages of support and encouragement on social media.
- 96k marker! Final push along the river towards Henley. People out for an early evening stroll are shouting out encouragement to us. More people travelling down the river in their boats are clapping and cheering as they sail past.
- “Nearly there!” they shout. Doesn’t feel very near to be honest, hardest 4k ever, dragging our feet and forcing ourselves to go on.
- I can see the flags at the finish line!
- As we approach we can hear the music and the cheers. The compere is urging us on over the microphone. “They are even in time with the music!” he exclaims, as we somehow find the energy for a few dance moves as we cover the last few metres.
- 7.20pm Sunday 100k! We made it!
- Glass of champagne, medals, congratulations and photos taken. Feeling very emotional. Can’t believe what we have just achieved, the pain was all worth it!
After individually raising £505 the team total came to £900, all donated to KSS Air Ambulance.
Thank you so much to all those who donated or gave messages of support and encouragement prior to the event and throughout the weekend. It is definitely very much appreciated and we really couldn’t have done it without you!
Special mention to my partner Colyn who kept me going with lots of laughs along the way! So would I do it again? Without a shadow of a doubt! There is a double marathon walk in Iceland next year I have my eye on so watch this space!