Jill Walks the Walk on the Camino 100 in 2019

Post surgery I was lucky enough to have one of the comfortable new individual rooms at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, paid for by Walk the Walk

El Camino 100 was an important challenge for me for many reasons and the experience itself way exceeded my expectations.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2013, followed by surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Post surgery I was lucky enough to have one of the comfortable new individual rooms at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, all paid for by Walk the Walk.

I had my 5 year all clear mammogram in March 2019, I turned 50 in April and the El Camino 100 in October seemed to be the perfect way to celebrate these two events. To make it even more special I was joined on the walk by both my sister-in-laws and my friend Claire, who had had breast cancer the year after me. Team M&M Magic.

My husband is Spanish and I have lived in Spain for more than 3 years. I am very much in love with the country and its culture. I had heard many of my friends talk about El Camino de Santiago and it was on my bucket list. With young children the whole 800 Km was not something I could have taken on at this moment but a week in the north of Spain covering 100 miles of the famous pilgrimage was perfect.

Also being 50 I wanted to treat myself a wee bit so the fact that Walk the Walk organised some really lovely places for us to stay and that our luggage was transported for us between hotels appealed. For my 50th birthday I asked all my friends and family to sponsor me rather than giving me a birthday present. I was all set. Well nearly…

Walk the walk also send you a training plan. The plan is so well thought out and works. I had some really enjoyable training walks with family and friends and keeping to the plan prepared me for the challenge. It was tough but very much doable.

I was worried that after such a build up I would be disappointed with El Camino itself but the path through Galicia is so beautifully kept and passes through the most stunning and lush scenery that each day was such a pleasure. Not just the vistas but also the amazing sounds and smells of the countryside. Delightful, small rustic chapels, warm Galician hospitality and delicious Spanish food truly made it a memorable holiday and not just a challenge.

There were times that it felt right to walk on my own, times with other members of our team and then times when I walked and chatted to some of the other women, from all over the UK, who were also part of the El Camino 100 group. Strong, amazing, inspiring women.

I can't praise the Walk the Walk organisational team enough. We had the ever optimistic Spanish guide Alfonso and the encouraging, supportive Sam with us all the way. I have such fond memories. I will definitely be returning to do one of the other Walk the Walk El Camino challenges.

Jill Murray

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