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Tracey’s 3 Land Challenge

If you’re thinking about signing up for 3LC, I’d recommend you do it – you won’t regret it and you’ll meet the most amazing people who become true friends for life.

In 2009, three friends and I decided to take part in The MoonWalk London. Two of us finished saying never, ever again but the other two repeated London in 2011. I volunteered and I was lucky to present finishing medals. The three of us signed up for the 2012 London Half Moon as we wanted to experience “turning off early” but I missed this due to flu. It took until 2013 when a friend completed a marathon event that I contemplated doing another MoonWalk. Literally the following week I received an email promoting The MoonWalk Iceland – the timing was perfect as I’d wanted to visit Iceland for a long time and I was ready to take on the marathon again!

I committed to the training plan and trialled different shoes and socks to avoid the blisters that many of us suffer. During the 20 mile training walk I was convinced I would have to stop at 18 miles but my fellow walkers and Walk the Walk’s Kate and Eppy persuaded me otherwise! A couple of weeks later we flew to Iceland for a truly magical experience, one I will never forget. I met wonderful people but a particular memory is the 2014 3LC camaraderie. Many suggested I should do The 3LC and at the time I said “no way!” but by the time the 2015 challenge launched I couldn’t wait to sign up.

Chatting on the Facebook page is great to start building friendships, getting extra tips and hearing lots of funny training and fundraising stories – this year was no exception and before I knew it, the first challenge was approaching.

London
Travelling up to Clapham for ‘Night at the Movies’ was surreal when fancy dress Rugby 7 fans boarded the Twickenham train – my journey to Clapham was very entertaining and I was still smiling when I saw the big pink tent. It was a beautiful evening and everyone was in great spirits, seeing lots of friends from previous events and the Walk the Walk Team. Some of our 3LC group congregated, the majority meeting for the first time, ignoring our nerves and admiring all of the decorated bras. We were in the first group and we started early to cheers and applause at 10:30pm rather than the expected midnight. The mood was relaxed, people taking ‘selfies’ against the London landmarks and everyone laughing and chatting while we waited, watching Tower Bridge raise for a boat to pass. I was greeted during the event and at the Finish Line by some of my 2014 3LC and Iceland friends who were volunteering, giving me the biggest bear hugs, especially when presenting me with my MoonWalk London medal! It was also very special to get the first stamp in The 3LC passport, knowing the next time we all met it would be in Edinburgh for our second challenge.

Edinburgh
Time for the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” and opportunity to see yet more friends and of course reuniting with other 3 Land Challengers as we were already a very close group who could not wait to walk together again. The atmosphere in the tent was fantastic due to 10th birthday celebrations for “Edinbra” and thanks to the rousing music from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. The weather could not have been more different to London! We’d heard how beautiful it was to walk along the coast during sunrise – we had torrential rain and howling winds but we just laughed so much. By that point we were such good friends able to keep each other motivated to finish and the volunteers and local community were wonderful – a lady and her little girl handing out flapjacks so early in the morning was really appreciated. We were soaked but the Walk the Walk hugs and cheers, our Edinbra medal and second stamp in The 3LC passport made us forget the weather and simply look forward to travelling together for the third challenge, less than a week away.

Iceland
I’d had great advice from one of the 2014 3LC group who told me to take the Edinbra hills steady to protect my feet for Iceland. I’d shared this so we were all raring to go when we met up at the new Terminal 2 in Heathrow and it was doubly exciting because some of us were meeting our Iceland buddies for the first time, all easily recognisable by our bra t-shirts! I think some passengers were a little taken aback by the size of our group and the sing-a-long led by Walk the Walk’s Sally but we were greeted by lots of smiles and waves from passengers and staff alike. The fun continued on the flight to Reykjavik, where we enjoyed a dip in the Blue Lagoon, before flights to our final destination, Lake Myvatn. The team like to ensure that everyone gets the most from any challenge so we had a couple of activity packed days including whale watching, volcano climbing (descending!) and the most stunning waterfall visits, then time for the third and final marathon.

Land of the Midnight Sun – seeing this stunning country and meeting such wonderful people is something truly special. I originally thought the second visit could not compare to the first but I’m so pleased I listened to advice from a 2014 3 Land Challenger who’d completed The MoonWalk Iceland the year before. People say The MoonWalk Iceland and 3LC are life changing experiences and they are not exaggerating! I was so proud to cross the Finish Line in Iceland, receive my Iceland medal and the final stamp in my 3LC passport – I got a huge hug from Kate in her penguin outfit and I giggled to myself about the London training walk when I’d wanted to stop at 18 miles! The icing on the cake was celebrating with the whole team when we received our 3LC medals for completing the total 78.6 miles – lots of emotion in the room, especially as we reflected on what we’d achieved, the battles fought and the funds we’d all raised for Walk the Walk. Huge thanks to my friends and family for supporting me, the amazing team, and special mention must go to my genius cake-making friend MJ and the generous cake monsters at Heathrow! If you’re thinking about signing up for 3LC, I’d recommend you do it – you won’t regret it and you’ll meet the most amazing people who become true friends for life.

Good luck future 3LC’s (and Iceland MoonWalkers too!)

Tracey

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