I WRITE this week’s column from my bed, as my body is broken from walking 26.1 miles on Saturday night.
I set off at 8pm from London’s King’s Cross alongside 400 other people taking part in Walk The Night to support CoppaFeel! and Prostate Cancer UK.
Between miles one and nine I was pretty chirpy. We enjoyed awesome sunset scenes, crossed some of my favourite bridges and took in parts I had never seen before by foot – and trotted down roads I never wish to see again.
As it grew later, we witnessed some people having too much of a good time. Dodging vomit and men weeing up walls became part of the challenge.
I was walking with Kay, a good pal who is clearly awful at saying no to anything I ask her to do for CoppaFeel!.
Her stepmother, aged 72, also joined us for half of the walk and, as we said farewell, I secretly wished I’d chosen to do the half-marathon instead.
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But when I decided to do this challenge, I thought I needed to push my body to do a full marathon walk.
I have nothing to prove yet I still have the urge to push myself to extremes.
I hadn’t taken part in a CoppaFeel! challenge for some time.
Not because I couldn’t. I purely didn’t want to!
I don’t enjoy physical challenges, maybe because I have a daily physical challenge to contend with already.
I WAS STRUGGLING
So by mile ten I was struggling and we weren’t even halfway.
My legs were tired, my hips screamed and I wanted my bed more than anything.
Thankfully, snacks, painkillers and Kay got me through.
Kay has a wonderful way of making the time pass. We chatted about anything and everything.
I can highly recommend a long walk with a good pal – but perhaps not quite a marathon, as by mile 23 we were silent. I had nothing left to give.
The sun was coming up and the birds were awake and mocking us.
Nine hours after setting off from King’s Cross we crossed the finish line.
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I felt horrendous. I almost passed out. I think my body was in complete shock.
To say I underestimated the enormity of the challenge would be an understatement. But I did it.
I don’t know how or why (other than to support a life-saving mission, of course) but I did it. And I won’t be doing it again in a hurry.
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