I walked the Thames Path 50km Challenge!

by Nicola on October 29, 2012

Team RTFM at the start

Jackie and I at the start of the Thames Path Challenge 50km at Putney

A month ago my sister-in-law Jackie and I got up incredibly early for a Saturday morning, headed to Bishops Park in Putney and registered for our Thames Path Challenge 50km walk. We all know the importance of warming up before exercise and so we had Jet from Gladiators (remember her?! remember Gladiators?!) lead us through a ten minute warm up before each scheduled start. She made us all feel old by saying that she used to do this routine on Gladiators some 20 years ago!

We were started off with a count down in small groups and then we started walking alongside the Thames, all the way to Runnymede, where we arrived some 10.5 hours and 31 miles later. We had several scheduled support stops on the way where we were treated to fruit, energy gels, tea, sweets and cake (the cake stop was amazing!). We met our group of family supporters at the lunchtime stop at East Molesey, a very handy two minutes from where my parents live and the support was appreciated.

We had fabulous weather for walking – sunny, cool and little wind and walking that far along the Thames was an absolute pleasure. The organisation of the event by Action Aid was perfect – no queuing for anything, lots of charity supporters cheering us on, many thoughtful touches, a fab hot meal when we finished and the obligatory T-shirt and medal on finishing.

Finished!

Medals at the finish of the Thames Path Challenge 50km at Runnymede

We were very glad, although slightly embarrassed, to cross the finish line and hear the compere announce over the PA system “Here come the tutu ladies!”, marking the end of our 50km walk and the raising of just over £1,000 including gift aid for Macmillan Cancer Care. Despite not acquiring any blisters on our walk, we were both very glad we didn’t have the next 50km to walk through the night to Henley, unlike some.

Our top five tips for entering a challenge event such as this are:

  1. Know your capabilities – we just knew 100km would be a few too many steps too far for us so we signed up for the 50km
  2. Train for the event – it’s so much easier if your body is fitter for the slog
  3. Like a good scout, be prepared – be fit, make sure your kit works for you, take useful things such as compeed, ibuprofen, sunscreen, snacks etc
  4. Stay hydrated – you’ll feel so much better if you’re topped up
  5. Enjoy it!

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