LDWA 100 April Update

It’s now just two weeks until Nathan and I undertake our really very brave, and indeed some might say (including us) foolhardy, LDWA 100 effort. This will involve walking 55 miles (it’s actually 100, but we might not finish as we’ve seen how far 100 miles is) and then having a lie down whilst thinking of credible reasons to explain to Dave Morgan why we haven’t finished. Please do message me with any good suggestions, I was thinking I’d say that Nathan got hit on the head with a golf ball. The only thing is that we don’t walk by any golf courses and I just know Dave would check. For those who want to read more about the LDWA 100 and our previous training walks, there’s a heap of stuff and other interviews available.

Nathan and I walked 20 miles on Friday, more about that separately tomorrow, but we managed rather well we thought. We’ve been in training for the eating and drinking element of the LDWA 100, and also the complaining side of stuff. So we’re fully up to speed there and we feel that other than the physical challenge and the mental challenge of the 100, we’ve covered all bases. We don’t really feel ready at all, we just keep walking and drinking and hoping that it all comes together. We’ve sorted out in our minds the route, the food, the support team and we’re going to get as far as we can. We’ve promised that we won’t give up easily, we’ll always try and go the extra mile (literally, that isn’t some customer service thing) and see what happens. To be honest, we think we’ll know what will happen, but we’re open minded. We’re also both expecting to retire from walking after this walk, as even the thought of it is exhausting us.

Anyway, enough motivational messages from me,  I’ve also wanted to get an update from those in training for the 100, and here are some of their stories.

Chelle, for reasons she suggests I shouldn’t ask about, was walking 18 miles a day in March (there’s no reason to do that distance, but there’s no telling Chelle that), which is just what I expect from our brave members in Norfolk & Suffolk. Unfortunately, she’s had problems with plantar fasciitis and she says “I have insoles, compression socks, ice socks, night splints and a pharmacy of supplements”. I’d add that this isn’t a rare problem in long distance walking, although I’ll likely just retire from walks if I had that problem as I’m not quite as brave and determined as Chelle. She is still though planning to complete the event in May, and I’m entirely confident she’ll just breeze through.

In the above photo is Chelle and an impromptu checkpoint she set up for four others in Norfolk & Suffolk group who were walking fifty miles as part of their training. As Alan Partridge says, so ruddy, bloody brave.

That leads me neatly onto Simon, as he was one of those 50-mile walkers and here’s his photo of that checkpoint that Chelle kindly set-up. Simon didn’t say in so many words that I am his walking inspiration, but he’s sort of vaguely hinted at that. He’s really got into camping recently, so I look forwards to hearing about those expeditions into the countryside with his very brave dog and the lovely Jane. He notes that he has been doing regular 18 to 20 mile walks, in addition to the 50 mile walk around the Suffolk coast. He completed the 30-mile Boudicca Way walk this weekend and then with a few more training walks he’ll be ready to complete his St Edmunds Way 100 at the end of May.

Look at that determination in Simon’s eyes…..

Tim has the added excitement of not knowing where his walk will be as his second grand-daughter is arriving soon and so his walk might not be the Exe 100 route, but a replacement route in Thirsk. There are some nice pubs in Thirsk, so I can think of worse places. Tim’s training is going well and he’s been following the monthly challenges run by Nicky and Julie, so that’s helped get his mileage up, along with Annette from Cornwall & Devon group who has put on anytime events.

Some of Tim’s photos above from his training efforts. Between you and me, Tim seems really competent and organised…..

That leads me straight onto Dave Morgan who is definitely competent and organised. He writes:

“I have been out on a few walks where I have walked more than 30 miles. I’ve also backpacked in the Brecon Beacons and Carneddau with a full backpack which has been good for my strength. But, overall, I haven’t done anything more than I normally do. I simply walk every day and try to do at least a 20 miler ever weekend as I know that if I do this it will be enough. 99% of the 100 is a mental challenge and not a physical challenge. I’ve done 850 miles since January 1st and I know that this should be enough (as long as I avoid injury) to get me around the route I’m doing.”

Just as a comment on this, it’s mid-April and he’s walked 850 miles. That’s just attention seeking if you ask me, if to show what a walking professional he is. I hope he remains calm and collected on the weekend of the 100 when he phones me up half-way round and I explain my reason for why we had to retire at about 8 miles. I might not tell him directly, I might just message his wife Gill, she can break it to him gently.

Kathy has had a bit more drama in her efforts, the sort of thing that would happen to us if I’m being honest:

“My training was going well – regular long walks, increasing distance. But, on 3rd April I set off on a 26 mile round trip around the Thames with my friend Ginika. In the woods on the Thames Path between Goring and Whitchurch I tripped over a tree root and fell heavily. My right arm felt funny. We walked to the road at whitchurch and Ginika phoned a taxi to take me to A and E. I’ve broken my right arm in an awkward place and I’m due to have it operated on on Friday, which I am assured is the quickest and best way for it to heal.”

It’s not ideal, but she’s bravely restarting training soon.

Caroline has achieved something I’ve never done, which is to be escorted on a walk by firemen……

“Training is progressing well, and much more cheerfully now we can meet up in sixes! Over the last 2 weekends all 8 of us have had a bash at a 50 miler. The first weekend was blighted by an unexpected blizzard in the night and the second weekend we nearly had to divert around a vehicle fire, but Lancashire Firemen ushered us through when it was safe. I don’t think they were expecting 5 walkers with headtorches to appear out of the darkness!

Lessons were learnt from doing the longer distance. For me it was not to put my hand down on stinging nettles. Laughter was definitely a great motivator and distractor from any aches or niggles. Having the support of the group, looking out for each other really helped, as did well timed cake! With 6 weeks to go, a mild panic is setting in. We still don’t know whether we will make it on the day, but our training continues. Even if we don’t finish, we will all have given it a jolly good try. And had some fun and giggles, pies and cake whilst preparing.”

And last, but not least of course, is Julie, the national chair.

Some of the ploughing through the undergrowth in Julie’s training for the 100 and she can’t be far behind Dave Morgan with her brave efforts. She walked nearly 30 miles today and much of that alone, which shows great resilience as I get distracted and pop into a pub if I am left alone on a walk…

For anyone else who wants to enter the LDWA 100, there’s still time and it’d be great to get to 400 entrants as we’re currently at 397. The walk takes place on 29 to 31 May 2021, but Nathan and I, plus Dave, are walking on the first May Bank Holiday. That’s because Dave’s making a video of our walks to show to the other 395 entrants. His will show how to walk the 100 professionally, with energy and with determination. Our bit of the video will be full of edited out swearing, complaining, lying down, binge eating KFC and sulking. But, what could possibly go wrong?   🙂