LDWA 100 May Update (the weekend is here!)

This is a follow-on from the April update, where I asked a number of entrants how their plans were progressing. Since then, I’ve completed my 100 effort, so that’s that out of the way (and I’ve mentioned that more than enough times now). So, how are some of the others getting on?

Rory Bennett seems full of enthusiasm (more than I ever had!) and is also starting very early on the Saturday. The above photo is when Rory was on his last push over Rushock Hill on a training walk.

“It always feel like you have to wait an age for a challenge walk to arrive, then suddenly its upon you! I’ve loved having this 100 to look forward to and to focus on.

Over the past month my training has been up and down. I’ve managed to get in some fairly long runs alongside 2 good sessions recceing the route which has really helped my mental preparation. Particularly tackling the night section and realising I’m definitely going to need my boots for that bit (and not to be confused when you stumble across a field of pigs…) I always try and scale back my training from 2 weeks to go. I tend to find this the hardest part as I’m usually just getting into it properly and seeing results. Alongside that the event is closer and I’m a lot more psyched up mentally which makes it a struggle to taper down, but taper we must.

“View from St Margaret’s back over the Black Mountains on my night section recce”

I’ve now spent the last week enjoying being able to buy excessive amounts of sweets, M&S Pork crackling (you’ve got to try it…) and all manner of treats. I also try and run through the route in my head, visualising my stops, where I’ll change my socks, where I might be brave enough to try a pint, etc… It can also take a while to lay everything out, plan how I’m going to pack my bag and sort out my half way bag. All crucial things, as one thing I have learnt from walking is, if you pack something deep down in your bag, you likely won’t reach for it. Keep the snacks, painkillers and water close to hand!

From here on in my mind has been wandering more towards how I’m going tackle the mental impact of walking 75 miles on my own and through 2 nights (I’m starting at 00:01, the earliest point so I catch the shops on my return loop). Only time will tell for that, but let’s be honest, like everyone else, I’ve mostly been watching the weather! Bring on the 100, it’s going to be a corker!!”

I asked Kevin Marshall whether he was excited or nervous about his weekend’s walk with Sara:

“We are both feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness! Having completed 22 LDWA 100 before I have a big slice of ‘can I drag my body around again…’ I am also very excited as this will be my better half’s first attempt at the distance and it is a real privilege to be going all the way with her so to speak!

Today is the day we are checking and rechecking plans (at the same time still working…), have we got everything, have we got spares… I was reminiscing to Sara this morning about the time I lost my head torch and didn’t have a spare. Someone kindly lent me their spare, the only problem was it was a wind up torch, great fun for six hours! I also recall my 20th as I left my map on the kitchen table at home! Again someone kindly came to my rescue and lent me the one off the wall at the start!”

As for this being a very different 100, Kevin added:

“This year will be very different none of the usual checkpoints to look forward to. We are largely self sufficient carrying stove and meals. However the founders of the Millennium Way have taken us under their wing and will be popping up along the route with water, coffee and any supplies we need. The kindness of ‘strangers’ is one of the things that never ceases to amaze me. Even our B&B host is cooking us a meal on Sunday evening when we hope to finish. She says this is something she has never offered to do before. Such kindness. So yes a mix of nerves and excitement, bring it on.”

It’s less good news for Chelle, who won’t be able to walk the event, but she is still excited to be part of the event by helping some members from Norfolk and Suffolk LDWA. She says “I will be marshalling for friends all weekend so will regularly post their progress and lots of pictures of food.” I’m already excited for the food photos   🙂

Tim Ryan is positive about his walk:

“I will be walking the Exe 100 from my house in Devon as planned. There will be 5 Cornwall and Devon members starting on the Exe 100, 3 completing up to the 50 miles checkpoint. Then hopefully along with Linda McCarthy the two of us shall be pushing on to complete the 100. A momentous occasion, as it shall be Linda’s 20th Hundred completion! My personal preparation has been going quite well, although I have allowed myself 3 weeks of rest days and just short walks since building the mileage up. I have provided a few pictures of places taken along the route: Exe Bridge about 13 miles in, Washford Pyne on the Two Moors Way after around 75 miles and what will be a welcome site, crossing the Exe at Bickleigh Bridge after 95 miles. Great to see the enthusiasm of so many members getting out there around the country. The best of luck to everybody.”

Caroline Tennant mentioned that it’s all suddenly happening, which is what I thought, it does come about very quickly…..

“From sitting at my dad’s dining table on Boxing Day, idly looking at maps…we are nearly there! After 5 months of walking, mapping and maniacal list writing, it all seems strangely calm at the moment. Yes, I am still running about, packing bags and sorting supplies, but without any stress or panic about the weekend. We have all said from the start, we have no idea what is going to happen on the day, so it’s just a case of setting off now and seeing how it all goes. We are so lucky to have our little group, I think that is going to be the biggest help, having each other for support. Either that or we will end up killing each other! Whatever happens I have the worlds biggest packet of chocolate digestives ready for Monday. Whether celebrating or not, I am eating the whole lot! Wishing everyone else lots of luck, lovely weather and tasty treats on the way!”

Shirley Hume sent the above photos a few weeks ago of her training efforts and said at the time:

“Training is not going as well as I would like, needless to say. Although I have done over 1,000 miles since the start of the year I have only managed 2 walks of 31 miles and nothing longer. I seem to have got stuck on around 25 – 28 miles. The lockdown easing last week gave me my first opportunity to travel the 50 miles to Winchcombe for a couple of days recce (not staying over), which has led to a rethink on the route. The warmer weather made me realise that without mobile support I needed to go for shorter loops to allow for filling up.”

The news this week isn’t entirely positive…..

“In truth Julian it is all going amazingly badly.”

As an aside, that’s how I felt about my training at times”

“After walking the last couple of sections of Dave’s 100 with him, I came down with a bad flare up of diverticulitis (first for 8 months), a non-eating week taking industrial strength antibiotics was followed by a week of side effects from the ABs – by which time I should have been starting to ease back. Furthest walked in 4 weeks is 18 miles. Anyway we (myself and the HQ +CP manager) are now established at base camp and hoping for the best. Sadly my prayers for cool weather look as if they are being ignored.”

All I can say is good luck to Shirley, but what a brave effort this will be with that background.

“Try not to be too smug over the weekend!!!”

I must admit for Dave Morgan and myself, this having already completed the walk really makes this weekend rather more enjoyable!

Simon Hodgin from Norfolk & Suffolk group hasn’t got back to me yet, but that’s fine as I know what he will say. It’ll be about me being heroic with my 100 and he’s very inspired by my bravery and doubting whether he can possibly match my time. I’ll be seeing Simon and many others from the N&S group who are taking part this weekend. As I mentioned on Twitter, to quote Norfolk’s own Alan Partridge, they’re all so ruddy, bloody brave.

Everyone on the NEC and involved in this whole event wishes every entrant the very best for this weekend. It’s the taking part that counts, enjoy what you can and see what happens!