On the 18th March, I shall be giving up my Mothering Sunday lie in and pampering to accompany Steve Blethyn on a 42 mile walk from Buckingham Palace to Reading's Madjeski Stadium.
The twist? We have to finish in under 12 hours as its from Sunrise until Sunset! And some of those busy roads don't have paths!
There is pressure and danger in this quackathon, as usual!
I did a Midnight Quackathon
with Steve last year so it seemed a good idea to accompany him on another walking adventure. He is walking 2012 miles for 2012
as part of a personal challenge and this links into it. He has been affected by the rapid detoriation of a friend
who has been diagnosed with Lupus. So he is fund raising for this dreadful disease, for the charity Lupus UK
. I am always happy to help with a challenge and to support the fund raising effort for a friend. So I am asking for you all to donate and be generous in supporting this challenge. You can text a donation to LUPU55 £1 to 70070 or donate through his Just Giving Page.This now has it's own challenge pageWhat is Lupus?
Over 30,000 people have the disease in the UK of whom 90% are female. Men & young children can also be affected by lupus. The ratio of women to men(who are affected) being 9:1.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, a type of self-allergy, whereby the patient's immune system creates antibodies which instead of protecting the body from bacteria & viruses attack the person's own body tissues. This causes symptoms of extreme fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, anaemia, general malaise, & can result in the destruction of vital organs. It is a disease with many manifestations, & each person's profile or list of symptoms is different. Lupus can mimic other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis & rheumatoid arthritis, making it difficult to diagnose.
Currently there is no single test that can definitely say whether a person has lupus or not. Only by comprehensive examination and consideration of symptoms and their history can a diagnosis be achieved.
Lupus is neither infectious or contagious. Lupus can be triggered-
·at puberty ·during the menopause ·after childbirth ·after viral infection ·through sunlight ·as a result of trauma ·after a prolonged course of medication The symptoms:
These may include - -extreme fatigue -joint/muscle pain -eye problems -depression -mouth ulcers -facial or other rashes -miscarriage -hair loss -anaemia -fever -possible involvement of the kidneys, heart, lungs & brain There is no cure...
People diagnosed with lupus normally remain under medical care with continuing medication. Many symptoms have less impact as a result, but side effects can often occur. Lupus can adversely influence the lives of those who suffer the illness, their families & friends.
SLE - Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ...hard to say - harder to live with...
Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnose, & can be overlooked, often for years, unless the GP or consultant is alert to it's possibilities.
How do doctors know if you’ve got Lupus?
- Your medical history - what you tell the doctor
- What they find when we examine you
- What the blood tests show
To help distinguish Lupus from other diseases, physicians of the American Rheumatism Association have established a list of 11 abnormalities which, when combined, point to lupus.
To make a diagnosis of Lupus the patient must have had at least FOUR of these 11 manifestations at any time since the onset of the disease.
1 Malar rash
fixed red rash over the cheeks
2 Discoid rash
red patches of skin associated with scaling and plugging of the hair follicles
rash after exposure to sunlight
4 Mucosal ulcers
small sores that occur in mucosal lining of mouth and nose
inflammation of the delicate tissues covering internal organs and abdominal pain
-very common in lupus, pain in the joints
7 Renal disorders
usually detected by routine blood and urine analysis
8 Neurological disorder
seizures or psychosis
9 Haematological disorder
haemolytic anaemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia
10 Immunologic disorder
tests on LE cells, anti-DNA and anti-SM antibodies
11 Anti-Nuclear Antibody (ANA blood test)
when found in the blood and the patient is not taking drugs, it is known to cause a positive test for lupus in most cases, but is not necessarily conclusive (copied from Lupus site)
Click here for more details of the route!
Steve and me getting ready for our Midnight Quackathon April 2011
Cor Blimey! who turned up the heat on Saturday for that event!!!This event was organised by Discover Adventure. The actual route was kept a secret until seconds before we were allowed to set off. So I was only able to have a look at map to get an idea of the terrain, hills and any other surprises anticpated.
Thankfully I train off road and with some hills!The event was described as "tough"! The details are - The magnificent prehistoric stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge need little introduction. We start in atmospheric Avebury, where we can get up close to the ancient stones before heading via the famous ancient landmark of Silbury Hill.We cross spectacular chalk downs dotted with ancient earth-works, burial mounds and enigmatic white horses carved into the chalk. Our route takes in the highest point in Wiltshire (295m) and goes through the most active crop circle area in the world, so keep your eyes peeled!This is a tough event over the high chalk downs and ridgeways of Wiltshire and Salisbury Plain. At 26 miles it forms a marathon for runners and an enormous challenge for walkers. You can run, jog or walk the route and we also offer a half marathon finishing point too. Our challenging day starts early at Avebury before heading via the mysterious landmark of Silbury Hill. Skirting a prehistoric long-barrow, we climb steeply up onto a ridge and follow this through beautiful country-side. Passing close to one of the white horses that make this area of chalk downland famous, we then drop down into the village of Alton Barnes and follow the Kennet & Avon Canal east on a welcome section of flat land dotted with farms and hedgerows.From there we head south and join the White Horse trail, crossing part of the large expanse of the MOD training area, we can now start to anticipate the finish line at the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge!My training partner, Phil Kemp, a marathon runner, and I had worked on a strategy to not just complete this course as a charity walk, but as a challenging endurance event. We wanted to finish in a good time and make our sponsors proud of our effort. Phil set a cracking pace from the beginning
. We left the other particpants eating our dust. Which amused me as a few had laughed at me in Duck suit and even dared to comment on how slow I would be. One man even said "I am not walking with you"! No mate, you didn't..you were an hour behind me ;0)I wore my Ducksuit with the head on for the entire event. I had a different base wear than usual. I usually wear a berghaus techy t-shirt and compression tights. But I know they get uncomfrotable and smelly esepcially when hot! I also have to use the modest toilet accessory called a "Whizz" which can be awkward if I have leggings and ducksuit on! Chocolatefishmerino
are a wonderful and friendly company that sell the best ever merino wool clothing. I cal it "huggable choclate!". Wool is often seen as a winter item, but I can assure you that the T-shirt
and freedom leggings
I wore kept me cool and comfortable for the entire event. Excellent wicking quality. Plus the freedom leggings have a suitable modesty opening for the "whizz". No chaffing or wetness endured. I was a sweet smelling Duck on completion. In fact I was able to eat at a Harvesters after the event in my merino t-shirt without any complaints!A few miles into the course Phil got a niggling blister and changed out of his trainers into his Crocs. he was only going to give himself some temporary comfort from his trainers. But he was so comfortable in them he actually completed the course in his crocs! The terrain was a little tricky so I admire his tenacity as there was no ankle support in those!I sustained a burning sensation on the ball/sole of my feet after 5 miles. I had to stop and change into a different pair of double socks, and apply compeeds to both feet for some comfort and hopefully stop any more blistering.
I had stupidly decided to not wear my usual sock combination, Bridgedale trek socks with Bridgedale liners, that has done me proud in the past. I was wearing some excellent wicking merino socks but sadly there was a "towelling" effect that seem to grate at my feet. I had worn them for running and they were fine. But not for this event sadly. Lesson learned..stick to what you know works and is comfortable. I tried to not grumble too much and just dug deep.
The terrain didn't help my feet. There was a 10km long track through military land that I am convinced was lined with red hot coals! The sharp gravel was really digging into my poor feet. My deliciously comfortable walking shoes, Exit 2 GTX,
were feeling very thin soled! But the excellent vibram sole kept my feet from turning and helped strenghten my ankles even more. I was walking a little awkwardly to overcome the discomfort on the blisters.The first half of the course from Avebury to Alton Barnes was beautiful. Lush green landscapes with rolling hills. The White Horse at Alton Barnes became a very good friend as we walked around it, away from it..always there in the distance whenever we looked bhind for the next 15 miles! The canal section provided a much needed cooling environment with a breeze to help revive us. Off the canal and up towards Manningford
Bruce was where we encountered the worst of the tall nettles and Brambles..and Snakes!!! At least I was fully protected in my Duck Suit but poor Phil had just his skimpy shorts and t-shirt on!I haven't kept a copy of the route map but it was from about here the course became quite tedious and dull. It was the 10km gravel track that took us through the military firing fields towards larkshill, then onto Stonehenge. Phil was always a few yards ahead of me keeping up his cracking crocs pace. The Event Organiser passed us a couple of times in her jeep and laughed aloud that the chap laying the markers was only 5 minutes ahead! They had never known anyone to keep up a fast pace. hehe ! they haven't come across the formidable team of ! Duck and her mate Crocs!Coming through the military housing estate near Larkshill we were joined by a small group of children. I broke out in a cold sweat thinking they were going to run alongside jeering. I had already had a couple of call outs from a young lad (7) using very blue language. I was now tired and not in the mood to have any more such nonsense. But these little guys were shouting the most encouraging things. "Come on Super Duck!". "We love Ducks".. "We know a short cut to Stonehenge.."! No, we didn't cut the route short! One little girl asked for her own fibroduck, which I gave to her. She squealed with delight and went off to show her Mum. They also took turns to take photos of themselves cycling along my side. Phil was starting to get further away; he wasn't hanging around to hear how super the Duck was! I had to call after him to wait up. The Little Guys also called out after to him "Oi Phil wait for the Super Duck!". They then cycled with me as I ran to catch him up. This was one of those moments that then gave me the energy and determination to really dig deep, and speed up! Mind over matter; ignore the pain!
As we left the housing estate in our wake, we came out on another open path. Another exposed path to cook us further as there was no shade or wind. But there was the refreshing sight of Stonheneg suddenly in our vision. Hooray! we sped up and marched towards the..the.. oh..where was the finishing line? A rev of an engine made us jump and move to the edge of the path quickly. It was the Discover Adventure Jeep again! It dissapeared off in a cloud of dust and stopped about 100 yards ahead of us. They jumped out, grabbed one of their flags, and a couple of medals, and welcomed us over the finish line as we rapidly caught up the dust cloud! 7 hours 23 minutes
, and we had almost beaten the Event Organisers to the designated finish area!! We finished in a record course breaking time! Power to the DucWe had to wait for a few people to finish before we could get the shuttle bus back to our cars. I changed out of my Duck suit after the photos had been taken with Stonehenge in the distance. I sat on path's edge drinking water and eating peanuts reflecting on what we had achieved. Final laugh was listening to the people finishing behind us "Oh, where is the Duck? Did we beat her??"Oh no! Super Duck was a good 40 minutes ahead of you.
A few people were surprised that a chunkymunky in fancy dress could move at such speed in that heat and on that terrain. I thank Phil for being a fantastic pace setter. Plus my training, and the excellent team at revive
for making sure I get the best training to do these endurance events. Plus of course I was fueled by the delicious nakd bars
. What a team. Thankyou everyone!Plus a huge thankyou "QUACK" to all of the wonderful people who sent me lots of encouraging messages of support from Twitter and Facebook. I am doing these events to raise awareness and funds for Fibromyalgia. Your messages helped keep my spirits lifted and the mind focused on what I was doing and why. My discomfort was minimal and for a small time frame compared to what a Fibromyalgia suffer endures.
As a few of you will know I have been searching for THE CHALLENGE to supersede the Polar Challenge. It had to have a low cost entrance fee, a reasonable and achievable fundraising amount, good event support, and ooze appeal for others to want to do it with me as well as have the “Oh My God”! factor to blow your socks off.
I think I have just had my socks blown off. Five Quackathons in Five days?
Last year Dean Grimshawe of Team Warriors
asked me if I would like to be a part of his team doing the Forces March
for 2011. I declined, as I needed all my fundraising and training effort to be totally focused on the 2012 Polar Challenge. That particular challenge has now very much been drop kicked out of orbit. I can not raise the £25,000 entrance fee, let alone raise anything extra for the charities. I don’t have a network of friends and family who can dedicate their time; effort and enthusiasm to fund raising to allow me to just get on with the training.
Dean and Team Warrior completed the Forces March at the end of May. He quickly put out a twitter request asking if any one would like to be a part of a team for 2012. Wow, he must have really enjoyed the pain he endured for the challenge! Why? So I had to ring him and ask a whole lot of questions. My curiosity had been piqued! And you all know what that this Duck is like with her nosy beak! I had followed the twitters during their challenge and often saw the words “hurt”, Achilles heel gone”, “blisters”, “knackered”, “tent with no pegs”… what has made him want to go back for more?
The Forces March is billed as one of the UK’s top challenge events. Participants complete five stages in five days. 132.5 miles from Ilfracombe to Bulford. Each stage is at least 26 miles in length – 5 marathons in 5 days! The undulating all-road route begins in Ilfracombe, North Devon and passes through Exmoor, the Quantock Hills, rural Somerset and much of Salisbury Plain before finishing just outside of Bulford Camp, the UK’s biggest Army Garrison. “The Forces March is not a race. It is not a competition. It is a journey, an adventure, a life-changing experience.” Oh, that’s my clincher! Part of the entry requirement is to raise a minimum of £1000 (per team member) for The Veterans Charity. ALL funds raised as a result of participation in The Forces March must be for The Veterans CharityThe Veterans Charity
, and was founded in 2008 to provide support for the Veterans of the UK armed forces. Their focus is to support ALL Veterans and to ensure that their needs are met as quickly as possible.
The Forces March is based on a legendary march taken by men of the newly formed 6th Airborne Division during early training for D-Day in the summer of 1942. Following weeks of intensive PT the men were told they could stand down and head back to Bulford Camp where they were based at the time. However, one last task was assigned; to WALK back to Bulford. A distance of approximately 130 miles! The men not only walked back to Bulford but they completed the arduous route in 5 days dressed in FULL KIT each carrying up to 80lbs in weight!
The phone call to Dean only whetted my appetite. He assured me that everyone mingled running with walking. The Die-hards who tried to run it at speed for the first two legs did themselves a mischief. There was nothing he didn’t say, even when he honestly spoke about some of the painful moments, that I thought “Eek, no!” I want something to push me beyond my boundary and out of my comfort zone.
I am not Super Duck, just one with a passion to achieve more out of life for me and others. There was also a fantastic support crew who made life comfortable and went beyond the call of duty with motivation and enthusiastic support, keeping up morale and humour.
I whizzed down to my gym, Revive
, to see Darren (Manager and best-ever instructor) to let him know what mischief this Duck is up to… he smiled and after a cautionary word or two, has declared “Game On”!
All emotional baggage dumped at the door and the focus is back on to spend the next year getting me strong for the Great South Run, the Reading half marathon, the London Marathon (I hope) and Five marathons in Five Days! Oh, did I mention I don’t run? YET!!!!
Oh and of course I will be doing this dressed as Fibroduck still raising awareness for FibromyalgiaDean wrote a blog for Veterans Charity in lieu of doing the Forces March 2011 - have a read
Meet Team Dogface!
Sarah, Neville, Myself and Paul are doing a 40km Quackathon on the beautiful South Downs.Our name is derived from the 4-legged fluff ball in the photo, its his nickname!We are raising funds for the Dogs Trust as that is where Dogface aka Shaun comes from.You can read more of his story on our
Just Giving page and on Sarah's blog.Of course, just a reminder, Janine will be doing this in her Fibroduck Ducksuit. She never misses an opportunity to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia.
Across The Divide
are a specialist company who put together many events and challenges - walks, runs, cycling, either in this country or many places across the world.Just Events
are Across the Divide’s own branded charity challenges and expeditions, formerly referred to as 'Open Events'. JUST WALK is now in it’s the fifth year. The event is getting bigger every year and has resulted in over £1 million being raised for a variety of charities since the event started.Just Walk
is the flagship Just Event.
It's a one day walking challenge, on 7th May, in the stunning South Downs, West sussex. You can choose either 10km, 20k, 40km or 60km routes, so there really is something for everyone. You pay an entry fee and then you can concerntrate on raising money for your chosen charity. Every penny raised goes to your charity. It's a great event to get involved in whether it's your challenge for the year or training for one of their overseas events.
Across the Divide’s reputation for safety and the thoroughness of its planning means you can concentrate on the fundraising challenge. The expedition team’s enviable and unequalled depth of experience means that we are in safe hands
There are six power stations along the route. The power station numbers coralate to the maps and graph below.
This is a route profile of the 40km route. The start and finish at Goodwood is 150 metres above sea level. From here you can then see how the route descends and ascends throughout the 40km. If gives you a good indication where you can expect the big hills to be and how steep the climb will be. The six power stations are also marked on the profile, and matches in with the maps above.
We need to do a lot of training! Our home turf is very flat, and there are some serious ups and downs as shown on this graph! We have been venturing out most weekends to get our hill-legs toned and strengthened. Apart from Paul, we are all out walking our dogs daily and go hiking and camping regularly. We consider ourselves fit enough for this challenge, although we may not be one of the first groups in!
This is how our route is described -
The JUST WALK 40km route provides a great variety of terrains and scenery and is the perfect way to experience the broad and sweeping landscapes of West Sussex. For the first 3km the walk is on roads heading out of Goodwood. This will allow the walkers to spread out before we turn into the plantation forests. Despite being deep in woodland, we will get glimpses of the stunning views to the south including Halnaker Windmill. As we head to the first power station the route crosses into Eartham parish and the station is at Eartham Woods’s car park, just after 6km.
Now the route ambles through the wild chestnut coppiced woods and rolling arable fields. The paths through the woods are 4x4 tracks and if wet will be a little muddy in places. Now turning to the south we follow bridleways to picturesque Slindon with its thatched cottages.
Power Station Two is on the far side of the village at nearly 13km.
So far there have been very few hills but the first incline comes after crossing the A29 as we pass through the last of the coppiced woods. The woods are teaming with wildlife so look out for deer and a wide range of birdlife. From the top of Rewell Wood this is where the 40km route splits from the 60km Route.
We continue along the top of the woods to Rewell Hill where we drop down through the woods and come out opposite the A29, where we cross the A29 here and take the bridle path through to a country lane. Staying on the country lane till we reach a track on our left hand side taking us to a car-park, the location of our third power station at Whiteways Lodge car-park at 18.6km.
From here the route heads from the car-park running alongside Houghton Forest until it meets up with the South Downs Way. We then head on the South Downs way Trail climbing our steepest climb to reach the peak of our route. At Westburton hill we join-up with the 60km route and follow the trail to Bignor Hill car-park the location of our fourth power station at 23.4km. Once rested and the views explored the route is now surprisingly flat as we walk over the open chalk Downs before dropping down and crossing the A285.
The South Downs Way part two starts as we climb again upwards , this time only 110 metres, up and along to Power Station Seven at just over 29km. Now we are at Graffham Down, famous for its unique wildlife, shortly after here at 30km, after what will seem like a very long walk over the hills - we start the long drop down through forestry towards Charlton and the final power station at 35.8 km.
Once refreshed we continue down the lane to the village of Charlton after which we make a short ascent onto a bridleway and join the edge of the racecourse. Here we have our first glimpse of the finish. With just less than 5km to go, the path meets the road and takes us along the final stretch into the grounds of Goodwood: time for a well deserved cheer and lots of congratulations!What else do we get for our Entry Fee?
*Graphs, map and details of the walk have been used from the Across The Divide website and info pack so that I can share the walk details and how brilliant they are organising and giving us all the relevant information to make it a most enjoyable, hassle free and memorable day
- What’s Provided for our Event Fee?
- Full event plans and management plus support throughout the build up to the event
- Medical support team and lots of TLC
- Training and fundraising advice
- Six power stations along the route with snacks, drinks, medical support, big smiles and encouragement. Most also have loos
- Marked and mapped route with free views!
- Complete safety back up
- JUST WALK info and advice on the website and on the phone
- Hot food at the start and on route
- JUST WALKED t-shirt
- JUST WALKED certificate emailed to you after the event
In February I noticed a blog and facebook event publising Steve Blethyn’s
midnight walk. He is another Reading based Adventurer.
I sent him a message asking him if he wanted a Duck for company, as you do! Not sure if he was grateful for having some company, or mortified he was going to be walking with Fibroduck
. But we both have a passion for walking, adventures and fundraising. Our feet are focused on a very local and worthy cause.
We are doing the walk for the THE WICKED AND WACKY BREAKFAST CLUB
at St Mary’s School in Shinfield where Steve works.
We are also promoting the healthy option of Walking to school
We are starting at -
- A. Robert Piggott School, then going via
- B. Polehamton CofE Junior School,
- C. Willowbank Junior,
- D. Emmbrook,
- E. St Pauls CofE,
- F. Westende School,
- G. Oaklands,
- H. Gorse Ride, and then finishing at
- I. St Mary's, Shinfield
We’ll be walking past every Junior School in Wokingham Council's area, a total of 23.6 miles (38km). We will be starting at midnight, and finish at 7:30a.m. on the 8th of April. (That's the last day of term.) We'll be in time to join the children in the breakfast club for toast and a coffee.
Hopefully I shall be able to have a live tracking with endomondo
which can be accessed from their website, or twitter and facebook. Feather tips crossed I can work the technology!
So wonderful people we are asking you to dig deep and donate
, even just a pound or two - every little helps.
This is my Fibroduck suit layed out with my all the kit I will need for the 38km trekathon.As it is at night time I have got 2 flashlights to wear front and back, plus a torch. I also have a reflective vest.
GPS, compass and map of course are essential.In my rucksack I will have 2l of water, a small concerntrated beetroot juice
(energy), a coconut water (rehyrdation at the end), a small thermos of hot chocolate (energy and comfort). Plus my gluten free nakd bars
, jelly beans, mixed nuts and raisins and a slimfast (energy & food drink). I also have a small pot of baked beans to enjoy as my wheat free alternative to a sandwich.I always carry a 1st aid kit, my Whiz (for a whazz, lighter than a shewee), spare warm hat, gloves, fleece, bandana (useful at end of walk when temperature drops).Plus a few fibroducks to hand out - not sure who we shall see in the wee hours!Wearing my new beloved Salomon Exit 2 GTX shoes. Perfect for my arches; gives great cushioning and support. Love the grippy vibram soles. Goretex lined too for our British Summers! I always wear a pair of thin bridgedale inner socks, with my Bridgedale trekking socks over the top. I usually douse feet in a liberal coating of talc to keep them dry & friction free.I always use my Osprey rucksacks. They are very comfortable and have lots of stretchy pockets.I have tried many backpacks but this is perfect for my height, waist, shoulders and chest.
We were blessed with a warm and dry evening. It was mostly cloudless so when we weren’t watching where our feet were going, we could enjoy the gorgeous starry sky.
We arrived at the first school, The Robert Piggot School, at 11.45am. Parked up in a dark school car park. Then another car drove in! The chap pulled alongside, wound down his window and asked “Do you know anything about the charity walk?”
I answered “Oh yes!” Straight away, Churchill style.
Steve slowly and cautiously answered with a mumble. He was waiting for the chap to tell us to leave immediately, as we couldn’t park there!
The chap introduced himself as Ryan, a photographer from the Reading Guide
! He certainly pulled the short straw for this story! His Editor had told him there was a job he certainly couldn’t refuse to do tonight!
He hadn’t brought proper lighting so we improvised with car lights on full beam. He was given a little Fibroduck as a thank you for coming out to record the start of our Midnight Quackathon.
We said a goodbye to Steve’s wife, Ginny, who was driving back home, to a warm bed! She repeated this several times and that she was looking forward to a snore-free night of sleep! Well at least I would know when Steve was sleep walking. I’d hear him snoring in mid stride. Then off we set!
We did our best to twitter through out the night, uploading our photos as we took them at each school. A big thankyou to all of you who supported us through the night.The walk was tough. The body is used to sleeping at that time. I had made sure I had packed some nice sweet things to keep my body ticking over, spiking it with jelly beans, nakd bars and brazil nuts.
The worst sections were the country roads with no lights, or paths. We had to pick our way over/through/under potholes, drain hole covers, molehills (grass verges!) and a lot of debris. thankfully no accidents. But notably my GPS recorded a maximum speed of 6.8mph! It must have been one of the stumbles when dancing with some hidden twigs!
It was a mostly quiet and uneventful night, with a few funny moments. I can’t for the life of me remember timelines for all the incidents!
- We found Cinderella’s shoe (Steve has the photo to prove this) and it didn’t fit either of us. It was a very petit glitzy gold ballet pump.
- We only had 1 car toot, but then Reading and Wokingham drivers are respecting the fact that most decent and civilised people would be asleep and not want to be woken up.
- There were two young lads walking near the Winnersh Showcase cinema. As was my way with all the good folk we came across, I said “Good Morning, Quack!” One lad replied “Good morning” back, and the other said, “Bon Appetite!” Hmmm..could he see an orange in my beak or a bottle of hoisin sauce under my wing?
- Another young lad cycling with his hands in pockets looked, nay stared, at us in disbelief as wiggled his way down the road, near St Paul’s school. He was lost apparently and needed directions back to Reading! At 3.30am? He did say if he had some money on him he would give it us as “We were well good folk!”
- Scariest moment was when we could hear a police helicopter over our heads, and could see the long search beam. It took about a minute to come over to us, then onto us, then move away. Then come back, and linger! We took advantage and took some photos of ourselves out side Westende School. Watch Police! Camera! Action! For photos of The 6ft Duck and Bewhiskered man blinking in their main beam!
- Outside of Wokingham, near a Tesco’s we thought we could see the Coco Cola Christmas truck. A very clean and smart “People Carrier” had a front load of very smart lights! Didn’t need streetlights with that around! But as we had already seen a Christmas lights on around a Magnolia tree in Wargrave I was still waiting to hear a Christmas jingle.
We got back to St. Mary’s School at 6.45am. We joined the children at the Breakfast Club, for breakfast. It was fun listening to their banter and taking questions from them. I was stumped at the one “how old is the Duck” and “Why has the Duck got two heads?” Just love what kids will come out with next.
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk and chats with Steve that night. We shall do another adventure again.
A big thankyou to Ginny, his wife, for chauffeuring and staying up late night that. Plus thank you to Ryan, the Reading Guide Photographer.
Oh this was a magical day!
Many had travelled from afar for this wonderful event. I shortened my journey by staying over with a Twitter friend, Nancy, as it was an early start.
We had the excitement of donning our special T-shirts, with duck feet all ready pre-printed into the Marsden March logo, and then wear it over my Fibroduck Ducksuit, then drive to Sutton Hospital, to catch our coach to the Chelsea Hospital.
It was a cold morning, despite the sun shining, and we were pleased to be able to get on the coach fairly quickly. It seemed such a very long coach ride to the Chelsea Hospital. I was convinced the coach driver had added on some extra miles to make us all feel we were doing an exceptionally longer walk!
We got off the coach and headed towards the lively exciting sounds, and wowed at the colours of the balloons as we arrived at the “Starters Village”. There was a beautiful arch of balloons to walk through as the starting line.
However, just before that was the more welcoming site of the portaloos! Both Nancy and I headed straight for those. It took a wee while to peel off my Fibroduck Ducksuit and T-shirt though! I made sure I was very empty before dressing up again and was certainly crossing my wing tips I wouldn’t have to do that again in mid-March!
We bumped into Team GIST
, some great girls (and boyfriend) we had got to know through Twitter prior to the event. Twitter has been a wonderful forum to keep in touch with the event details and updates; plus to make new friends before and after the event.
Without lingering too long in the cold we were under way fairly swiftly and set off at a good pace keen to complete the 14 mile March in under 3 ½ hours. I let Nancy stay a stride ahead of me for most of the March, setting our pace, as she was anxious she wouldn’t be able to do it at Duck speed, and without another Pee stop. Tis a good ploy, used previously on my sister on the Moonwalk (26 mile midnight walk for Breast Cancer) as it worked psychologically, lulling her into thinking she was “beating” me..hehe! It also meant Nancy couldn’t see my face as I was in a bit of pain as my boots failed at mile 5. But I kept going! Thank goodness for the comfort and energy giving Nakd
bars! Cashew Cookie is my new forever chocolate!
The March was initially along a lot of busy pedestrian areas until we got to Wimbledon Common. I had never been there before so loved the novelty of seeing the Windmill and singing a variety of Wombles songs. I was also able to check twitter to see who had sent messages of support. There was a message to call up Redshift Radio
, a community radio station in Crewe, and do a live link up. This we managed to do, so it was fantastic to think that despite Marching in London, all folks tuned in from around the country could also share our experience. Thankyou to Liz and everyone at Redshift for your fantastic support, and suffering the whimsicial twitters of a daft Duck!
I also had the fun of being interviewed by Royal Marsden Radio at the start of the walk, and again as we left Wimbledon Common. I puffed out my Duck chest with pride as not only was I supporting a very worthy cause of raising funds for two excellent cancer hospitals, but raising awareness of Fibromyalgia and Fibroduck. Listen to the interview here.
I am about 51mins into the programme.
Nancy and I managed to complete the March in just under 4 hours, and certainly welcomed the orange squash from a nearby pub before we got to the finish line; then the bottled water and goody bag as we crossed over/walked under the balloon arch.
The March Village at the end was alive with music, face painting, bbqs, drink stalls, Marsden Charity merchandise shop, and the wall of memories.
What really brought it home for me, as to why were all there, was seeing the obvious signs of recent cancer patients who had undergone chemo. Plus one patient who was on walkabout with his medicine drip bag stand. When I got home, I tried to explain the day and the finale to my husband. It was as I mentioned this man with his drip bag and stand, I burst into tears and was quite overwhelmed with how lucky my family and I are truly are. Plus, there was the feeling of euphoria of having walked in such esteemed company, on a beautiful March day, on the most memorable March ever. The first Marsden March will never be topped, but there will be many more successful ones. The Duck is signing up for 2012!You can too, here for 25th March 2012!There will be an official video and more photos from the Royal Marsden site shortly.You can still donate to this walk on my Just Giving Page
A little bit about The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity Work
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity supports this pioneering work. Thanks to our supporters, we are able to help The Royal Marsden continue to push boundaries and raise standards of excellence.
When people donate to the charity they support everyone who benefits from the work of The Royal Marsden. Scientists searching for cures. Doctors who depend on the latest treatments and technologies. And, of course, cancer patients and their families.
Together, we can keep making life better for people with cancer and keep striving towards a future without it.
Recent appeals include: Europe's largest centre for children and young people with cancer Doubling our capacity so that more children with cancer can receive the best possible care and treatment.
Medical Day Unit at our Chelsea hospital A bright and spacious environment that improves patient comfort and reduces waiting times.
CyberKnife – the latest in radiotherapy treatment Treating the most hard to reach tumours with concentrated doses of radiotherapy. (from the Royal Marsden website)
What a fantastic day to remember!
I set out at 6.30am to arrive at the Green Park Village for 7.00am. It was a rather breezy chilly morning and thank goodness I had my Fibroduck Duck suit to hang out in! Sure the warming carnival atmosphere helped keep us all bouyant and happy but didn’t keep the Goosebumps at bay!
I was doing the event with my work colleagues, Reading’s Family Link Team. We were supporting a young person, Luke, who wanted to complete this mini marathon under his own steam, no one pushing him. This was the first time he had ever done this. He is just starting to become more independent proving to his peers he could live with minimum support. He is a very determined young man and indeed he kept us in our places!
I insisted on running/dancing this event. Who could not resist bopping away to the bands that lined the course. I loved hearing “High Way To Hell” played by a young rock group, and the Steel Drums. Everyone else walked 3km, I danced at least 6km, at Luke’s pace in 40 minutes. He is determined to beat that time next year! Mmm had my beetroot juice and Nakd
bar to munch on for much needed energy. I had the Peanut & Oat Trek bar and the Chocolate mint flavours.My own Reading Half Marathon place has been deferred until next year..my big challenge to concerntrate on!
Luke will also be doing 1km, using his walker, around Prospect Park, 1st April from 1.30, with Reading College. Please do show your support.
“Reading's Family Link Team took part in the Green Park Challenge to promote Share The Care Week, and to recruit more short breaks carers & befrienders for disabled children & young people. If you would like to find out more about becoming a carer, call the team on 0118 937 3740 and make a big difference to disabled children!' “ There is more information here.
Photos printed by kind permission of Reading Council