Last January I was looking for a new challenge. I was fed up with spending money on gym memberships that I rarely used and breaking new year’s resolutions. I wanted to find something that I could stick to. I’ve always enjoyed walking, so when I saw the 1000 mile challenge, to walk 1000 miles in 1 year, I knew I had to do it.
Unlike other big challenges, like running in a 10k or climbing the 3 peaks, there was no need to sign up, pay a registration fee or train. It was a personal challenge that I could do as and when I wanted to. To keep me motivated, I decided to fundraise whilst I completed the challenge. That way I could help other people, whilst helping myself.
I set up a Just Giving page, which meant I could tell my friends and family all over about the challenge I set myself. I was always updating the page with my progress, so everyone could see how determined I was to complete the challenge.
To get me started, I walked 3 -4 miles every weekend with my friend Joanne, and a couple of miles ‘mid-week walk’ after work with Cassie. We’d usually time our weekend walks for whenever Joanne’s husband was watching the match! Having friends with me was a great help, especially when it was so cold and knees were aching! In the first couple of months, at the end of every walk, I’d put a bag of frozen peas on my knees!
From there I started going for walks on even more after work walks, or whenever friends asked to meet up, I’d say only if we can go for a walk! This got some of my none-walking friends walking! The miles soon added up and the more I did it, the easier it got. Joanne and I then stared going on longer walks and we signed up to the Wirral Coastal Walk in June, and went on walking holidays to Snowdonia, the Lake District, and along the Jurassic Coast. It was a great excuse to go and visit somewhere different.
Walking was also a great way to de-stress too. I work long hours and it can get a bit manic, so this forced me to have a better work/life balance.
Aside from the walking, I had a great time fundraising too. The Fundraising team at The Whitechapel Centre sent over some t-shirts for us to wear on the walks, as well as collection cans and information about how the money I was raising was helping. I’d talk about the challenge to anybody I could and everyone would ask how I was getting on. It was brilliant to see so many people wanting to support me; even my hairdresser sponsored me!
The last 100 miles during December was quite a slog, especially with the weather and dark nights, but the support and encouragement I got from friends and colleagues was amazing - especially my boss! He even told the whole school about my challenge in the Christmas Assembly and had a bucket collection on the last day of term! The first I knew was when he started talking from the stage and I suddenly thought ‘Aaaghh! He’s talking about me!’. He even gave me a bottle of Prosecco to take up Moel Famau on Christmas Eve!
I completed my challenge on Christmas Eve at the top of Moel Famau. I raised £1266.50 and celebrated with a bottle of bubbly. I’ve not stopped there though. I’m already 176 miles in to 2018’s 1000 miles - I know, I’m nuts! But I’m thinking of trying a few other challenges which people might sponsor me for as part of the mileage - age, asthma and arthritic knees permitting!!!