If you’d told me this time last year that I’d have walked 52 miles in 24 hours, I wouldn’t have believed you. Two back-to-back marathons sounds like a huge challenge, and to be fair, it’s pretty tough! So when I finally made it to the finish line at last year’s RidgeWalk, it proved to me I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
Walking with my close friend
I signed up for the walk with my friend Jade. She’d just moved a few hours away, and meeting up in the middle often meant meeting up in the countryside.
So what better new hobby than walking? It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours on the weekend exploring a new place, getting some fresh air and catching up with each other.
We were getting into a good routine of walking a few miles every few weeks, and really enjoying walking and talking together.
Why I chose to walk for Sense
When she found out about our regular walks, our friend Emma suggested Jade and I sign up for the RidgeWalk. Although we initially needed some persuading, we realised it would be a great way to keep us focused on regularly meeting up to walk in preparation for the big day.
Emma suggested the RidgeWalk because she had recently started working at Sense and really believed in the work the charity does. Emma told us about visiting a Sense Centre and seeing the incredible impact it had on the lives of people with complex communication needs. We were sold. It felt like a great cause to be raising money for.
Support from the moment we signed up
Straight after we signed up, we got an email with a walking plan and top tips for how to get ready. It made it super easy. I started with just a few miles a week, which is easy to get into your routine if you can walk home from work. And Jade and I met up every few weeks to get a long walk in – around three to four hours in a day. Sense also suggested some stretches and exercises, and there was some great advice from other walkers in the RidgeWalk Facebook group too.
Before the big day, I got a final email with all the essentials, reminding us to pack snacks, bring water and other little tips. It was nothing huge, but it put me at ease again because I felt supported.
Walking together for one important cause
The day of the walk was just really exciting! It was great to meet the other people doing it, and we all felt united walking for the same charity.
As we set off, we talked to other people about why they were walking for Sense, and it was really interesting to hear everyone’s stories. But we quickly spread out into smaller groups, which was nice and quiet, and settled into a good pace.
Because it was summer, the weather was great and the sun lasted late into the evening. And when it got dark we just put on our headphones and ploughed on.
Every few miles there was a checkpoint where we were welcomed with a hot drink and snacks. It broke up the walk well, keeping us focused on the next few miles. Before you know it, you’re over halfway and the sun’s coming up!
You can do it if you put your mind to it
Yes, the walk was really hard and my feet really ached afterwards! But it’s so worth it for the moment you cross the finish line, get handed a hot sandwich, a drink and a well deserved RidgeWalk medal. Then you can finally relax and reflect on what you’ve achieved.
The experience made me really believe in myself, and made me realise that with a bit of a plan and some support, I can do anything I put my mind to. You can to!
Inspired by Amy’s story? Want to take on this epic charity challenge next year? Register your interest in the RidgeWalk 2019