Friendships from The MoonWalk London

The most amazing thing of all…….. We did it, we completed the additional 16 miles and we finished and survived, despite us both having been so close to quitting.

I wanted to write about my experience of last year's London Moonwalk
And also to acknowledge the personal relationships that can be built through Walk the Walk.

Having completed my first moonwalk in 2010 with my friend Clare, I had decided to take part with my friend Sammy this time. She lives approx 100 miles away so we didn't get the opportunity to train together (and I do admit my solo training was shocking in it's absence). Sadly, only a few days prior to the event Sammy had to cancel due to a dodgy hip! I decided I would continue on myself and still stayed at hers the Friday night. I also made contact with, and had arranged to meet up with, a couple of solo walkers.

 On the Saturday, I was well rested and prepared but feeling a tad under the weather when I set out for Hyde Park. I arrived at the Pink tent feeling excited but slightly missing the companionship of Sammy. Although everyone is so friendly, I am not a naturally outgoing person and can find it quite hard to approach people. Anyway I met up with Diane and Kay and started out at the start line with them.

As they were both working to time targets they soon went off ahead. I duly carried on, trying not to feel disheartened that I had gotten a blister within the first mile! Mile after mile crept by and I eventually made it to the toilets at mile 10 on the embankment. At this point, the majority of walkers had passed me (i had managed to avoid turning off with the half mooners) and I was feeling worse by the minute. I had even contacted the other half and was desperately wanting to ask him to come and get me. I managed to avoid that somehow and kept telling myself how rubbish I would feel to not get that medal. So step by step I carried on…….. A few hundred yards later and everything changed.

As I walked I noticed I was approaching a lone walker sat on a bench looking as down as I felt. I asked if she was ok, to which she replied 'no' and I responded with 'me neither' and sat beside her. We introduced ourselves and Gill became my saviour of the night and future friend. We stayed on that bench a little while before deciding to walk to the next bench, and the next, and so on.

We laughed, we almost cried, we talked and grumbled but we kept putting one foot in front of the next. We were joined at dawn by Gill's lovely (and very talented actor) son, Ed, and his friend, who walked behind us giving words of support and encouragement. There were times we laughed so much, especially when we realised we were one from last! It was a fabulous feeling when we overtook people.

Eventually (after almost 11 hours) we arrived at Hyde park (and we joined by Gill's other son) and started down that last stretch. It was amazing to see the finish line and I was especially moved at the resounding cheers and applause that went up from those at the finish line, including Diane (who had waited to see us in) and Nina herself. I completely teared up as we passed it and was totally chuffed with my medal, knowing we had truly earned them. Gill then went off to have dinner with her family and I had to travel home. My feeling 'off colour' turned into flu and I also lost a toenail but none of that mattered.

The most amazing thing of all…….. We did it, we completed the additional 16 miles and we finished and survived, despite us both having been so close to quitting.

We have remained in touch despite Gill living in Spain (ah, the joys of Facebook) and have had numerous conversations about next year's moonwalk. I will be forever thankful to Gill and my good fortune of having met her at that point as I know I really would not have finished without her.

I also learnt that I'm not really cut out to do these things solo and definitely need to have a local training buddy!

So as well as letting others know of my experience last year, I also wanted to give a big shout out and thank you to Gill…. My moonwalk angel x 



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