Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice supporter Kate Carr shares why she is trekking 100km through the Cotswold countryside this year to raise vital funds for her local hospice, plus lots of fundraising and training tips.
You know that lovely experience of going for a walk in the countryside, enjoying the scenery and getting lungfuls of fresh air? Well, the challenge I've signed up for is not quite like that! This June 29th and 30th I will be walking 100km without stopping and all because I was avoiding having to run.
Every year the company I work for, First Choice Conference & Events, raise money for charity by taking part in a challenge. I have been quite successful in avoiding all the running challenges so far – not through laziness though, I have always had really good excuses reasons! – however, when discussions began on the challenge for 2019, I knew my luck had run out and I needed to take action.
Having recently become a dog owner, I had begun to fall in love with walking and thought a walking challenge would be achievable. After a brief Google search, I discovered a series of ultramarathons and the seed was sown. I floated the idea with my work colleagues and managed to get two other victims participants to agree to give it a go and, before anyone changed their mind, we were signed up!
“The challenge is the equivalent of more than two marathons”
I live in Cheltenham and our ultramarathon takes place along part of the Cotswold Way, which is a 100-mile footpath through the Cotswolds. We start our challenge in Bath and finish in Cheltenham, walking a total of 100km, which is the equivalent of 62.2 miles.
To put this into perspective, this is two marathons plus a further eight miles. I would like to point out that there are people that run these distances and kudos to them – I cannot understand how you go about training the human body to run 100km with little rest! I will, however, concentrate on getting there in one piece at a slightly slower pace.
My team and I don’t yet know what sort of time we’re aiming for, but we have a maximum of 38 hours to complete so it would be great to come in faster than this!
My training journey
Training began for me in January, although I'd been walking more and more since October last year, and preparing mentally around then too. The training is essential and time consuming. At the time of writing this, I am walking roughly 40-50 miles a week, though this is steadily increasing week by week.
So far, the training hasn't impacted too much on my daily life but the house might not be as tidy or clean as it ought to be (I'm blaming the extra walking...). However, over the coming weeks and, unfortunately, weekends, we’ll will begin to see an increase in training time, and I'll be disappearing for hours on end whilst the children and Daddy entertain themselves without me.
I'm hoping that, once the miles increase and the temperature is warmer, friends, colleagues and family will occasionally come to join me for part of a walk or meet me at the end for a much needed cuppa and piece of cake. It would be nice to get others inspired to walk more and I'll no doubt be craving company after 15 or 20 miles walking solo.
We have one night walk in the diary so far – something no-one in our team has any experience of doing yet – and the plan is to walk together whenever we can as we'll have to heavily rely on one another for motivation and support during the event.
I'm supporting Leckhampton Court Hospice because my father-in-law was cared for by the incredible staff there prior to his passing. The hospice is such a special place in a beautiful setting and the care given is amazing. My daughter and I have been lucky enough to sing in the choir at the hospice and you can clearly see what a wonderful place it is with the best staff.
I am thrilled to be able to fundraise for them; there is a minimum fundraising total of £595 for the event and I've already achieved this, so I’ve increased my target with four months still to go! I'd be really pleased if I could raise over £1,000 for the hospice so I'll keep plodding on, writing my blog and updating my Instagram in the hope that people dig deep when they see the commitment going into preparing for the challenge.
Feel inspired to take on your own challenge to raise funds for your local Sue Ryder hospice?
Daughter of patient
Kate's father-in-law was cared for at Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire. She now sings in the hospice choir and is fundraising in memory of him.