In case you missed me mentioning it on every social media channel known to man, last weekend I dragged my lazy arse around a 26.2 mile course throughout London town, at night, to raise very important funds for Cancer Research. This was my Shine Walk 2015.
My very lovely sister-in-law Maria and I had been doing our idea of training for a good few months (i.e. going for a gentle stroll, having a gossip, then grabbing a smoothie). We had a busted out a good 22 mile walk the Sunday before as the terror had started to sink in but, much like childbirth, I don’t think anything could have truly prepared us for what we had in store.
Despite spending pretty much every day since Coco’s arrival three years ago desperately wishing I could crawl back into bed, on the day it was actually possible I couldn’t get to sodding sleep for love nor money. It could have been me replaying the moment Coco pissed herself at a school open day earlier that morning, or perhaps the start of my adrenaline pumping, but it soon dawned on me that I would be walking a million miles throughout the night nap or no nap.
As well as buying every anti-blister product on the market in a mild panic days before (they didn’t work), I had also thankfully purchased an insane number of glucose gels and high energy biscuits. Between these and the delicious snacks the fantastic Shine volunteers were handing out, only a few minutes must have passed when Maria and I weren’t eating (much like all the best marathon walkers). I think this saved us. Although I’m guessing we are probably the only participants throughout the history of the Shine Walk to finish a marathon bloated.
In total 17,000 people took part in the Shine Walk this year and the atmosphere was incredible. There is nothing better being part of something so great on such a grand scale. Everyone was pumped up and raring to go, donned in the obligatory neon face paint and glow sticks. I have to say the volunteers on the night were beyond brilliant. No doubt freezing cold and at times a little bit bored, their relentless cheerleading never faltered and their efforts really did make all the difference. As did the many high fives given by the numerous pissed up lads and ladies sprinkled throughout the streets of London.
We were told by some of the seasoned Shiners who had done the walk the year before that miles 13-20 were the hardest, but actually these were the best for us. Surprisingly miles 5-10 were pretty tough, but once we got past this point (and we busted out the snacks) we really began to get in our stride. It is no exaggeration to say miles 20-26 were torturous. My hips were so painful it reminded me of when I was heavily pregnant with 9.7lb Raffy, so my walk was less limp and more waddle. My blisters were out of this world and my lower back was stiff as a board. But we bloody did it! Who knew all those nights pre-babies, shit faced until the early hours, buggering up my feet in blister inducing high heels, would be such good training.
At 7.10am, roughly 9 and a half hours after we first set off, we made it across the finish line and every minute was worth it. I independently have raised just shy of £550 but collectively all of the Shiners have pulled together a whopping £5million for Cancer Research. Impressive stuff. Not only did to get help beat cancer sooner but we got to see all of London’s finest sights and finish with the sun rising over the Southbank – a great feeling indeed.