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Diane’s MoonWalk Iceland 2013 Experience

Having completed 3 Moonwalks (London 2009, 2011; Edinburgh 2012) my thoughts were what shall I do next?

Having completed 3 Moonwalks (London 2009, 2011; Edinburgh 2012) my thoughts were what shall I do next?

After checking out the Walk the Walk website, my decision was made – it was time to take on an oversees challenge – the Moonwalk Iceland!  Hubby Pete who, although he had been a volunteer at 2 Moonwalks, had never shown any interest in taking on a Moonwalk Challenge before, so imagine how surprised I was when he told me wanted to sign up as well!  Not sure whether it was the pull of Iceland or the thought of wearing that decorated bra!! The one thing we both knew we wanted to do was to raise funds for Walk the Walk to help with breast cancer causes.

Our first information pack arrived, along with it the vital training guide!  We knew we had to train fully to ensure we were fit enough to complete the Moonwalk, adjusting our training to fit in with our lifestyle – sometimes we would train together, sometimes on our own, in all weathers, after all who knows what to expect in Iceland!  The weeks of training passed and then it was time for us to leave for Iceland.

When we arrived at Heathrow, the Walk the Walk team were there waiting for us – Guy, Abi, Sally and Polla, we checked in, passed through security and then we saw them –given away by their bra t-shirts, the other Moonwalkers!! Some of them we recognized from their photos on Facebook, it was great to actually meet them in person – we felt we already knew them, such was the chat online in the months before.

Soon it was time to board the plane for the 2 ½ hour flight, upon arrival at Keflavik we were led to two buses – Moonwalk and Midnight Sun – that were waiting to whizz us to the first of our wonders of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon!  As we moved through the reception we were each handed a towel along with some mineral moisturiser, we showered, changed into our swimming costumes and made our way outside.  Stepping into the 39 degree geothermal seawaters of the Blue Lagoon was absolute bliss, so relaxing, we could almost feel the stresses of modern life soaking away.  Some of us enjoyed the silica mud mask freely available, it did wonders for our skin! So much so that we were told by our guides on the buses that we all looked 10 years younger!!

It was back on our coaches for the final 2 bus rides along with a 45 minute flight to reach our hotels in the north of Iceland alongside Lake Myvatn – around which we would very soon be walking!
Early the next morning, we were on the Puffins bus (one of 4 buses provided for our sightseeing trips) and on our way to Husavik – we were going whale watching!  We all climbed aboard the boat, Gardar, Pete and I along with a few others, climbed up to the crows nest, hopefully for a better view of the whales we hoped to see, and then it was out into Skjalfandi Bay. We truly needed our layers to keep us warm out on the water, these were enhanced by a ‘padded onesie’ which made us all look like Michelin men!  It wasn’t long before the shout of “10 o’clock”went up  which gave us the location of the surfacing whale, then the competition was on as to who could manage to capture the best picture of the whale before it dived!! This was repeated time and time again throughout the 3 hours spent on the boat, we half expected to hear the theme tune from ‘Jaws’ in the background! A warming cup of hot chocolate along with a cinnamon bun was a welcome distraction. Minutes before returning to the harbour, and totally unexpected, another whale surfaced very close to our boat allowing those among the group, who hadn’t put their camera away, an excellent photo opportunity!

Although it was mid afternoon when we left Husavik, our sight-seeing was far from over for the day.  We visited a hot spot area with boiling mud pools, steaming fumaroles together with a strong smell of sulphur in the air; a unique bird museum; the physical experience of walking up into Hverfjall – a volcanic crater, and along the top, before the even more physical experience of the descent!  Finally, a delightful hike through Dimmuborgir with its beautiful lava formations, many in the form of trolls faces – an Icelandic folklore twist, before our return to the hotel for our excellent evening meal.  What a fantastic day!!

Saturday arrived, was it to be a day spent quietly relaxing at the hotel preparing for the big night ahead?? Absolutely not, not a bit of it!!  Once again we were on our Puffin bus and given the opportunity to see much much more of this wonderful country!  We visited Asbyrgi, a huge spectacular canyon, then taken alongside the Jokulsa river passing the waterfall, Hafragilsfoss, on our way to Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe, the sound of which we could hear long before we could see it. We crossed the Mid-Atlantic ridge, and saw the incredible rift that’s steadily splitting the country apart, followed by a short visit to a museum that answered our questions.  We enjoyed a delightful lunch en route before we returned mid-afternoon to our hotel where we had plenty of time to get ourselves ready for the main event!!

Later in the evening after the delicious Pasta Party, we were taken to the Nature Baths from where we would shortly start our Moonwalk.  Our heavily sequinned bras were sparkling as we danced along to the rousing tunes played by the accordionist. We did the conga with Nina at the front, snaking round the room before moving outside and warming up with the Hokey Cokey!  On we conga-ed towards the start line, singing the Moonwalk anthem.  It wasn’t quite midnight yet, it was still daylight – well we were in the Land of the Midnight Sun!!  We were all so keen to get going…….the countdown was on……………and we were off!!!

It was cool, around 6 degrees Celsius, but we walked with our decorated bras exposed, our fleeces tied round our waists. We were all grouped together to start with, but as we found our own pace we steadily broke up into smaller groups and then ones and twos.  It got cooler, the fleeces went on, we walked, we chatted, we passed Guy as he took photos of us all, then he would drive up ahead of the group and repeat the cycle.  Although cool, the air was very still but as we moved southwards the wind picked up and it got a bit chillier – the fleeces were soon zipped up!!  The support trucks with the marvellous Walk the Walk team on board, followed us round checking as they passed that we were all ok, we knew when they were getting close from the loud dance music playing, along with much blasting of the horn!! Occasionally they would park up and entertain us (?) as we passed with their dancing skills!!

Soon after we’d passed our hotel I saw the first of the kilometre signs on the road – something I’d been trying not to see,  imagine my disappointment as I saw it said “1/2”, referring to half of the marathon, 13 miles!  I was convinced I’d walked further than that! However, there was nothing to be done – we just had to keep going, it was still a long way to go.  We enjoyed some soup and a banana from the support truck to help us on our way, a little further on I saw the steam plumes of the Nature Baths across the lake and remember thinking it’s not too far away now.  How wrong I was!!  Pete had seen the kilometre markings on the road – he knew just how much further we had to go, but kept it to himself!

Up to now we had managed to walk at the same pace, but Pete began to slow down, I tried to slow to his pace but found it quite difficult, my feet were getting a little sore and I wanted to see the finish line!  The gap between us was getting bigger and bigger, but I really wanted us to  finish together.   As I continued at my pace I decided that I would stop and wait for Pete when I was in sight of the finish line.  At last I approached the road that led up to the Nature Baths, I heard a shout behind me, it sounded like Pete! I turned around and there he was! He had given himself a severe talking to and decided he wasn’t going to let me get any further ahead, he pulled out all the stops, and got himself back into his rhythm, and very soon he was back at my side!  On the side of the road was a thermometer sign – it was 0 degrees Celsius!!  We turned the final corner and there ahead in the distance was Nina and Guy and the finish line!!  We both received a congratulatory hug along with our medals. We had done it!!  Our aim was to finish our Moonwalk in under 6 ½ hours, however we were just slightly outside of our time, finishing in 6 hours 37 minutes, but we were well happy with that.

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast followed by a relaxing dip in the geothermal waters of the Lake Myvatn Nature Baths, before returning to our hotel for some much needed rest.  We all celebrated our achievements much later with a glass (or two) of champagne followed by an excellent celebration meal in the evening!Our Icelandic adventure was almost at an end, it was time to return home.  However there was still time to visit one more waterfall, Godafoss on our way back to Akureyri, followed by our flight to and short sight-seeing tour of Reykjavik.  During our short stay in Iceland we had all enjoyed the camaraderie of the group, and although it was sad saying our goodbyes back at Heathrow, many good friendships had been made.

A journey of a lifetime to the land of the midnight sun as 90 amazing women and men take on The MoonWalk Iceland 2013. 

Learn more about The MoonWalk Iceland here

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