I can’t quite believe I’m saying this but at 8.11am this morning my oldest friend (we’ve been close friends since the age of 5!) completed a marathon. A whole 26.2 miles of walking! Last night we took part in the Cancer Research UK Shine Walk. The most phenomenal, physically exhausting yet one of the proudest experiences of my life to date (getting into bed afterwards has never felt so good!). I hope you don’t mind me sharing my experience with you, I just don’t want to forget what this feels like without documenting it somewhere.
I’ve never been a particularly athletic person, I’m not great at sports although I do enjoy swimming, walking, cycling and Zumba classes. When we signed up for the Shine Walk 2015 back in April I couldn’t truly imagine what walking 26.2 miles would be like (especially as I hadn’t ever completed any kind of sponsored event to this scale before) but I did know it would be a challenge. A challenge I was eager to face for such an incredible cause. I had been going on longish walks in the build up to the Shine Walk 2015 but nothing close to the 26.2 miles we walked. I still can’t quite believe we managed to complete it.
The first 10 miles were fine, we were striding at a good pace (at the starting point you had to queue based on whether you thought you were a sprinter, strider or stroller – we went for the middle category and our start times were staggered to reduce congestion) and chatting away. Every mile there were signs so we knew how far we had walked and every 4 miles there were pitstops for drinks, food, toilet facilities, a rest etc. Even by the half way point we were still going strong and not feeling too achy. Everything started to go downhill at around 16 miles. With every step I had to push through the pain and the desire to give up and with my close friend by my side we kept on walking. And walking. And walking. The last 10 miles seemed to go on forever! Reaching that finish line was such a MASSIVE relief (they were playing Tina Turna’s The Best!), it honestly got to the point where I thought we would never make it to the end, but WE DID IT!!!
I was amazed at how well organised this event was, so many volunteers ensuring we were keeping to the right route, encouraging and motivating us to continue, handing out drinks, popcorn, sweets, breakfast bars etc. to help keep us going. It was an incredible atmosphere, with everyone supporting each other. The London skyline at night/ dawn was stunning too.
So although right now I can barely move and feel absolutely exhausted, having only slept a few hours, I feel so proud. Proud that I signed up to Shine Walk 2015, proud that I completed and most of all proud that I’ve helped raise quite a significant sum towards such an amazing cause. One way or another, at some point in our lives we are all affected by cancer and it feels extremely great to have done something to help get us that little bit closer to finding a cure. Huge well done to everyone else that took part in the Shine Walk 2015! Time for me to hobble to the kitchen to make myself a drink..