Frank ShorterThis Saturday saw me, along with 17000 others, walk a charity marathon called the ShineWalk around London in aid of Cancer Research UK. The ShineWalk is a huge annual event and this was my first time. In fact it was the first time I'd ever undertaken a physical challenge, never mind tried to raise a substantial amount for charity.
We started at 9pm in Southwark and the atmosphere was great - music, flashing lights and a gospel choir singing 'Proud' which brought a tear to my eye before we'd even left the starting blocks. We were all feeling excited and cheery (well we didn't know quite what was in store!)
The walk took us along some scenic routes, including Tower Bridge and the Serpentine, but I have to admit after mile 15 I think I was just looking at the floor. London is gorgeous lit up at night, but the sheer pressure of keeping moving for more than 7 hours is huge and every leg muscle starts to scream as you progress along the course.
There were plenty of pit stops to grab water or a banana and have a much needed stretch, but the novelty had well and truly worn off by mile 20 and the last 6 miles passed in quiet agony.
Along the way were hundreds of volunteers cheering us along and also loads of passers by stopped to congratulate us which felt a bit weird. I can't tell you how good it felt to cross that finish line, all of us holding hands and have a celebratory picture taken. We all immediately peeled off our shoes and socks and changed into flip flops for the journey home. Already aching we tried to do a bit of stretching but I must admit that I'm not sure anything could have helped with the aches and pains I had the next morning.
On the super positive side, I made over £500 for Cancer Research, which I'm delighted with. (If you want to help click justgiving.com/ginarowland) So despite my blisters and inability to keep my eyes open I am chuffed to have done my bit in the fight against cancer.
Would I promise you now that I'll be there again next year? Let's see how long it takes me to recover this time first...