I trained for this for a good few months, and it is the hardest physical challenge I have ever done so far.
I didn’t underestimate this, but it still kicked my bum.
To the start!
The start was in the evening, so lots of time to kill during the day and we headed in to London to get to the start in plenty of time.
It was pretty chilly, but we were prepared for all eventualities. Our kit included:
Plasters, food, drink, rain coat, fairly lights, spare socks, blister stopping vaseline style cream and lots and lots of sugar.
At the start there was a great supportive atmosphere, and also a reminder of why we were all raising money for Cancer Research.
So off we went, walking. Walking is really slow compared to running, who knew? I was aiming for a sub 10-hr finish, and thought we’d do just fine. The longest training walk we had done before Shine was 30km.
We passed lots of landmarks and the Garmin was beep beeping the km down. We went through the first pit stop and I already had blisters – a quick change of socks and plasters made me comfortable again.
The atmosphere with all the walkers was brilliant, lots of chat and camaraderie!
Once we got to the half marathon stage I was starting to flag a little, so we had a big rest of half an hour or so. I think this might have been a mistake, as it prolonged the walk further, and it is hard to get going again once you stop completely.
Complete stop at 27km
Halfway we got a text from CRUK, letting us know we were halfway, which was a lovely boost.
Once we hit approx 27km, my feet were ON FIRE. We had to stop again (a mistake I am sure of now) but at the time I was starting to get very very tired and it was about 4AM. Off came the shoes as you can see, and this made my feet swell… oops.
From here on, it was a tough mental battle to keep going, I was convinced my core had no strength left in it at all. We were counting down how many parkruns were left to go. Come on, just x more parkruns!
At 20 miles we got another text letting us know how far we had come, at this point I wasn’t sure I was going to do it, but the walkers around us were in good spirits and the pit stops were counting down. So this kept me going.
Pain and rain
The pit stops en-route were nice, I might just be greedy but I am very happy we packed more food to keep us going. Snacking on chocolate buttons certainly lifted my energy levels.
Early in the morning, it started to rain. No problemo! I have my jacket! The zip split as soon as I put it on. So I was either too big for it since I last wore it or it had just worn it out… I was like a drowned rat. I am not going to pretend I was happy at this point!
Further on, walkers started coming back towards us with their medals, cheering us on even thought they had finished which was brilliant. They really helped us on the final stretch.
Red carpet welcome
The finish soon came, and I walked up the red carpet, grabbed my medal, promptly sat on the floor and might have shed a tear.
We then had to walk back to the tube. Stairs! I was wandering round the tube stations in a space blanket grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
It was a massive challenge for me, and certainly worthwhile. I raised a fair bit for Cancer Research, and completed something I never would have thought possible just a year before.
For anyone thinking of doing Shine, or another walking marathon in the future, my advice would be:
- Make sure you train for it, it is a marathon and you spend a long time on your feet
- Prepare decent supplies
- Take snacks
- Enjoy the sights
- Prepare to be knackered afterwards
Oh and heed this official advice:
DON’T DO IT
It is very true!
Even though I really enjoyed it, I think I could be tempted back for the half instead of the full next time.