LDWA – 2021 LDWA 100 (Interview with Nathan Hensley)

On the 29 to 31 May 2021, the LDWA’s 100 mile event will be taking place. Unfortunately, national restrictions mean that the Y 100 Sir Fynwy won’t be taking place as hoped, when in more normal times the South Wales group would have welcomed hundreds of walkers. Instead, there is the chance for entrants to walk a 100-mile route of their choice anywhere in the country, so the event has more of a national feel this year. And it’s fine to enter to do a shorter distance, with anyone walking 50 miles in 24 hours qualifying for the 2022 Trans-Pennine 100.

I’m taking part in the 100 and I’ve been compiling some resources relating to that. When the new LDWA web-site is launched, this and lots more other material relating to the event will be copied there. Over the next few weeks, I’m speaking (well, writing) to entrants on the 100 and following their efforts up to, and after, the big day. We’ll be using the text from these interviews and updates on social media and also perhaps in Strider, the LDWA’s rather excellent magazine which is sent to our 10,000 members. Hopefully it’ll help inform, educate and inspire others to take part or become involved with the LDWA in other ways.

For anyone who wants to take part in the event, have a look at the SI Entries page, or further information at the LDWA’s web-site.

And this third ‘interview’ is with Nathan Hensley, who is doing the event with me, so he has a huge advantage to the other entrants that he has my company, encouragement, initiative and engagement.

Here’s Nathan as part our training programme.

This is your first 100, what inspired you to take part?

Like most great ideas in life this was borne out of a chat down the pub. Your (Julian’s) walking exploits were made to sound like an exciting challenge, and the 100 would be the pinnacle of them all. I liked the idea of pushing myself to achieve something a bit different too, so it all came together nicely.

What route are you planning to take?

Starting in Lowestoft and walking to Great Yarmouth, then taking the Wherryman’s Way into Norwich. With a few detours that should make us reach over 50 miles, then we’ll head north out of the city along Marriott’s Way and meander back. Ideally for the final few miles we’ll stay local to Norwich (probably doing smaller and smaller laps of the streets near our houses if I’m being honest).

You’re walking the 100 route with one of the most professional members of the LDWA, does that give you lots more confidence?

I am confident that we will keep each other entertained! Knowing us, I think we’ll want to look a bit braver than the other so that will spur us on too.

Do you think this will be easier or harder than the actual 100 that is traditionally held?

I think it will be easier than Y 100 Sir Fynwy would have been at least, primarily because we’re not tackling many hills. The lack of encouragement from other walkers will probably add a unique challenge though.

What food treats are you taking with you?

I’ll make sure I carry sweets and nuts with me at all times, I don’t tend to get hungry on a walk but I do need a pick-me-up at regular intervals.

You have a support team, what food and drink will you be requesting that they supply you with?

Some coffee during the night and a bacon roll for the second morning would be fine, though if someone fancies sorting out a fry-up instead then I’d be very grateful.

Do you plan to have some decadent craft beer during the walk?

I think it would be silly to rule out that possibility, especially if our spirits drop a bit. It will be important to not overdo it though, and I’ll probably stick to lighter beer as a stout might feel a little heavy.

What tactics do you think you’ll use if you feel like giving up on the walk?

The main thing will be to distract myself. If we can spend the time chatting and gossiping, or I can focus on the upcoming food then hopefully the thoughts of giving up won’t enter my mind.

Are there any wildlife that you’re concerned about meeting on the walk? Sheep, cows, snakes, pigs, or anything else?!

I’d rather not see a snake if I’m honest, and a night-time cow encounter could be problematic too, but I think I can deal with most of the expected wildlife. This is, of course, if my walking partner doesn’t decide to start saying the word ‘bull’ as I’m halfway across a field…. [can I just note, I was reading aloud the huge sign which said “DANGER – BULL IN FIELD” that Nathan had meandered by, it wasn’t my fault Nathan rushed back thinking I had actually seen a bull in the field]

Would you say you’re looking forward to it?

Yes and no. I’m looking forward to the experience and hopefully the achievement. I’m less enthused about the inevitable soreness, tiredness and all-round grumpiness.

Do you have a time in mind of how long it’ll take you to finish?

I will be more than happy with finishing within the 48 hours time limit, but I think aiming for 42 hours is achievable and sensible to give us leeway.

How will you celebrate when you finish?

With a very long lie-down!

What would you say to anyone thinking about entering the 100, or thinking about doing a 50 mile challenge event, who might be a bit nervous?

Even in these strange times, the walking community has been friendly and welcoming to a relative novice like me. It’s a great opportunity to learn about your limits, discover the places around you and to meet people from different walks of life. I’d also say that unlike a lot of other events, if you pull up short for whatever reason then it’s not a failure or a wasted day, you’ve still been able to enjoy a nice walk!