The May Day bank holiday is normally a chance I grab to relax and kick back with my family – but not this year. Instead, I’ll be taking the Hadrian’s Wall challenge and trekking 100 miles alongside Dom Jordan, the CEO of Hobbycraft, and three of his colleagues, to raise money to support the 54 children’s hospices across the UK.
The idea for this trek came up shortly after I started as CEO at Together for Short Lives last year. I met Dom and was impressed by his personal commitment to fundraising for seriously ill children and their families, by doing a massive walk every year to raise money for our charity. In my new-boy eagerness, I shared that I had done some long-distance walking in the past, and that I’d love to join him one year. Before I knew where we were, one year turned into next year and I was signed up.
I do love walking and have done some endurance walks in the past, including the Cumbrian Way which is a similar distance, and something called the ThunderWalk in 2012 for Together for Short Lives, a 54 mile walk over the Brecon Beacons in 24 hours. This will be the first walk like this for some time though, so I’m anticipating it with a mixture of excitement and nerves.
Aside from the big challenges I mentioned, my walking boots are generally reserved for an annual long weekend in the Lakes, walking with old university friends of 25 years standing. These weekends have taught me a lot about the comradery of trekking together, something I’m really looking forward to with Dom and the team.
Fitting long training walks in between a busy job and two children is a challenge, but in terms of getting ‘match-fit’, I’ve tried to walk everywhere if I can, aiming for 15-20 thousand steps a day.
This walk isn’t for the faint-hearted. Over the course of five days, we’ll be navigating around rocks, trying not to lose our footing or disturb roaming sheep for on average, 20 miles a day. On the plus side though, there will be the unadulterated joy of eating a massive breakfast every day guilt free and having a trusty bag-full of snickers by my side.
All joking aside, I know that the blisters and aching legs will be all worth it, because we will be raising money for seriously ill children who urgently need palliative care, and their families, quite literally every step of the way.
I am hugely proud of Together for Short Lives and Hobbycraft’s partnership. Over the course of six years, Hobbycraft has managed to raise £1 million for the 54 hospices across the UK and I’m looking forward to playing my part in bettering that figure!
If you can spare a smile or a wave along the way, some kind words on Twitter or a few pounds on our JustGiving page, I promise you’ll be providing us with an absolute tonic. In return, I’ll reward you with photos of the beautiful landscape around us and maybe even some considerably less beautiful shots of our weary walking boots along the way.