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Shriti’s 3 Land Challenge experience…

As a seasoned MoonWalker I had been eyeing up the 3 Land Challenge for a couple of years…but never quite believing I could do it.

As a seasoned MoonWalker I had been eyeing up the 3 Land Challenge for a couple of years…but never quite believing I could do it.

I don’t know if it was some kind of mid-life crisis but in the run up to register for the 2014 challenges something inside me said just go for it. Still a bit nervous (especially as I hadn’t any friends prepared to do Iceland with me), I called up the girls at Unique Challenges and had a chat with them. They gave me the confidence that by Iceland I would be amongst friends and also gain that extra little bit of belief I needed. So in a moment of madness I registered!

Training was pretty much as for any MoonWalk, I just paid extra attention to stretching between walks to prevent injuries. The challenges team really did look after you, all the way from training tips, arranging the long training walks and generally making sure everything was set up for Iceland. The group email and facebook page were great as I had started chatting to other 3 landers.

London
London MoonWalks were a familiar experience to me so no major nerves yet. Arriving in Clapham, which was a new start for The MoonWalk, I felt the usual excitement of MoonWalk City with the added fun of looking out for the yellow 3 lander caps! I set myself a target of 7 hours which was achieved comfortably!

Edinburgh
After the torrential day of rain we arrived to a very boggy MoonWalk City…the weather didn’t dampen the MoonWalk spirits though. I had met quite a few of the crazy 3 land bunch face to face in London and around the Unique Challenges tent, and matched a few more faces to names. Nina invited the 3 landers up on to the stage in Edinburgh… It was amazing to look out at the crowd, I felt so proud to be associated with this unique challenge and with such an amazing organisation that is Walk the Walk.

Miraculously the rain cleared and it turned into perfect walking weather. The aim was to just enjoy this walk and remain injury free. The miles were made easier by the fantastic folk of Edinburgh…sweeties, smiles and well-wishers around every corner. Lots of hugs at the finish line from the Walk the Walk crew and a delicious cup of tea.
By the time I woke from a refreshing sleep Sunday lunchtime – my thoughts turned to Iceland… in less than 5 days we would be heading off!

Iceland
Walking into Heathrow and seeing the now familiar bra printed T-shirts was so exciting. Instantly my nerves about doing the Iceland walk by myself evaporated! The team spirit was alive and kicking. A few team photos and a chant of Sally’s MoonWalk anthem “everywhere we go…” and we then boarded our plane!

Our first stop in Iceland was a dip in the warming, soothing waters of the blue lagoon. Any tiredness from the previous two walks was absorbed by the haunting beauty of Northern Iceland. Greeted by hugs from Nina, Kate and Guy when we arrived at our hotels, in fact the entire trip was filled with lots of hugs. Friday and Saturday morning were packed with delights and treats: whale watching, volcano climbing, waterfalls and sulphur field and lots of lovely Icelandic hospitality from the tour guide and bus driver. Evening dinners were great – everybody coming together as a group of great friends that had one common goal. We all lifted each other and felt empowered!

After a few hours of precious sleep Saturday afternoon, it was time to get ready for the 3rd and final MoonWalk of this epic challenge. Although there was only eighty-ish of us compared to the tens of thousands of a typical London MoonWalk – the energy I felt whilst we all waited in the hotel lobby was electrifying. We all headed to the mud baths which served as a mini Icelandic “MoonWalk City”. Music, dancing and photos before we conga’d our way out, to warm up and start.

The walk was just something surreal and very difficult to convey in words. Magical scenery and sounds. I had paired up with Harinder, and, although it was the first time we walked together, it was as if we had trained for the whole thing together… our speeds were the same. Our guide on the trip had said to us that when you feel tired – “just breathe deeply and absorb energy from the nature around you.” Crazy as it sounds it worked! The amazing Walk the Walk crew provided magnificent support….not only water, sweets, fruit and soup, but great singing, dancing and, of course, the ever important hugs!

Walking through the finish line brought the most welcome hugs from Nina and the crew and just a few tears…tears of joy, memories of lost ones and pride. Then we had a delicious breakfast, followed by a soothing dip in the mud baths, which was very well received by the aching legs.

A few hours of power sleep, and it was time to party! Cakes, champagne and the final medal for “mission accomplished!” Guy had put together a montage of the Iceland weekend and the walk, that so captured the emotions perfectly. As we watched, we laughed at the pictures from the sightseeing, warm up and the walk. As the finish line pictures came up, this changed to cheers and tears!

At the final dinner, the well-deserved wine flowed freely. The atmosphere was filled with pride and inspiration, and the whole room was just an enormous group of friends!

The experience left me in such a good place mentally… even now, months later, as things begin to get to me, I take a deep breath, and think of the 3 Land Challenge and particularly Iceland!

Shriti

Interested in joining us next year… why not register your interest here

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