Week ago I was walking from Eastbourne to Arundel raising money for Sussex charity Rise (finished just around 9 am on the Sunday)
This blog is how the walk went, my experiences & any advice for anyone taking part in the future
The first thing is I have wanted a week after the walk, wanted a bit of distance looking back at it, but not too much distance that the memory plays tricks on you
A week where the legs are recovered (sort of, still feel heavy & feet ache)... So let's start at the beginning
Got dropped off at Prince's Park in Eastbourne, the start line. I was nervous as had no idea what to expect & losing my travel cup before did throw me off a bit. But didn't have to long to stress before called to start line, our group given a briefing & a warmup then it was off
Walking along the Eastbourne coast line reminded me of when we stayed there for Beachy Head Marathon, and then hill climb right at the start of Beachy Hill really brought home how hilly this start will be. I was happy with my podcasts, enjoying the sunshine (though had to change to shorts after 1st rest stop as it was so hot!)
The scenery was amazing, and seeing lines of walks in the distance made you realise how many people were taking place
Having done Beachy Head Marathon I knew how step Seven Sisters was going to be, I know the route to Alfriston (remember the places where I walked with Claire during the marathon, and also the memory of the tea and cake stop at Alfriston during the marathon)
Then walking along the South Downs, I could see Newhaven to one side, and River Ouse / Lewes on the other side, the weird thing about being high up, you can see so far away, and you think it can't be too far away but much further than you think. See the Ouse, remembering my training walk from Lewes to Newhaven, but took ages to get there on this walk. Still nice weather, not as hot as the morning sun at Beachy Head, and have a bit of a breeze helped.
This part of the South Downs walk I was helped along the way by Moore, Roger Moore. Listening to his autobiography My Word is My Bond was a nice way to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Getting near towards Kingston Near Lewes, gave me hope and I had done that walk to Brighton several times, and such a nice feeling walking down into Brighton, my home town. Knowing where I was going. And had a welcome sight before the 50km sign. Claire was there to walk from Brighton Pier to Hove Park with me,
Felt this was a hard part for me, just done over 50km, and was tired. Hove Park seemed to be moving further and further away, so was glad I could sit down, have some pasta. Check on my feet, change into dry clothes where Claire brought with her.
As it was now dark, we had to wait until groups were ready to go out every 15 minutes. So with glow sticks, head torches on I set off to go back onto the South Downs.
The section from Hove Park to the next rest stop Botolphs a 14km leg was the hardest of the lot for me. I think it was a combination of tiredness, the dark, needing the toilet only a few K's after the rest stop, being both hot and cold, the floor surface which is probably okay when you can see where you going, but in dark you can't see where to put your foot.
I was hoping to see amazing night sky but as it was quite cloudy, you didn't get the views I hoped for, but was still amazing.
Luckily for me sometime after the Botolphs stop I meet up with another Nick, and it really did help walking with someone else. So can't say how much it helped me. Thanks Nick
Sorry the above photo was a bit blurred as camera was a bit smeared, but I think it gives it a bit of atmosphere. Was great seeing the dawn break. Bacon Rolls at one of the next stops was a welcome addition.
Every time we saw a KM marker we counted down distance to either the next rest stop or to the finish. Once we did the last rest stop it was amazing, knowing we were getting closer and closer to the finish. Sometime during the night I knew my plan for doing the walk in around 20 hours wasn't going to happen, but towards the end knowing this was going to take me over 24 hours made it felt more worthwhile. Knowing I have walked for a day sounded very cool to me.
Then arriving at Arundel was the most refreshing sight, especially as my parents and Claire were there. Completing it with Nick was good as well,
So would I ever do this again?
No, though doesn't mean I wouldn't do another challenge. I thought Action Challenge did a great job, the route was marked out and all the rest stops were well stocked with snacks and drinks. They did a great job, so the reason I wouldn't do this is the route, having done it once I am not sure how much would a challenge it be. So glad I have done this, it is one of the biggest achievements I have done.
What would I have done differently?
Would have done some night training, taken less stuff in my backbag and maybe some more longer walks. But overall not sure what else I could do (apart from booking the day off beforehand, and booking days off afterwards - going back to work on Tuesday was tough!!!)
My Live Trail Stats - click here
And finally - you can still sponsor me, I was doing this walk for Rise