Thames Path Challenge, 2019, in memory of Jo Heath and Sue Banner
After a fabulous weekend in and around London on September 7th/8th, I was glad to be back in my own bed ready for a very, very long sleep and some rest.
Feeling proud of my husband for completing his first ever 50km challenge, my daughter for completing the second half of TPC and, for me, it was a stressful, “what if I don’t make it?” 100km challenge.
Dave and myself began our challenges at 7.10am on Saturday morning and headed off along the bank of the river Thames towards Henley.
Perfect weather conditions made the first 50km a pleasant but still a tiring walk, with us both reaching the 50km point at Runnymede at 8.29pm.
This was the end of the challenge for Dave, super proud of him and what he achieved.
Heading out for the the second half at 10pm was somewhat exciting, and at times it was tough, especially through the wooded areas.
Despite having head torches and being vigilant of tree roots that could trip you up and put an end to your challenge, it did become a task having to constantly look where you were putting your feet and making sure you stayed far enough away from the edge of the river.
As the night progressed the temperature plummeted, more layers, including a woolly hat and gloves became a must.
As we checked into our penultimate rest stop at 5.27am on Sunday morning there was a frost on the ground and a number of participants sat wrapped in foil blankets inside the marquee trying desperately to get warm.
Seeing the sun set on Saturday evening and watching it rise again on Sunday morning made me realise just how much I appreciate the life I have.
By 9.40am Sunday morning the sun was out and gave some welcome warmth to the by now aching muscles. We headed into our last rest stop before the final push to the finish line for yet another change of socks and my second and final shoe change of the challenge (a girl can never have too many pairs of shoes) and yet more tea and snacks and all things sugary.
The last 12km became the true challenge, looking for ways to distract from this was another challenge in itself.
Nonetheless, we plodded on, plodding being the operative word!
At 13.58pm on Sunday, some 30 hours, 48 minutes and 32 seconds after starting, I was relieved and elated my challenge was completed, and Fiona’s too.
I’m so pleased I didn’t let my sponsors down, didn’t waste the valuable time, effort, and money my support crew gave to get me through and to the end of the Thames Path Challenge.
None of this would have been possible without the love and support of my family.
A huge thanks to everyone who supported me and donated to my chosen charity, Breast Cancer Care, this means a lot to me.