It was a bloody early start on Sunday for the “Bloody Long Walk” charity walk! 35km of walking, talking and wincing in pain! Our route took us from Palm Beach NSW, known to many as the setting for the “Home and Away” tv show, to Manly Beach, one of Sydney’s outdoor icons.
As a team of 5 we raised $2010 for the Mito Foundation and I’d like to thank everyone who donated, especially the readers of this blog whose kind donations helped me reach my personal fundraising goal. Each kilometre was worth $57 and every step has made a difference to someone’s life.
Our team, composed of my brother Adam, sister Michelle, niece Emily, family friend and lead fundraiser Tess, and myself, was called “looking for the nearest pub”!
Everyone was in good spirits at the starting line and as I was preparing to take my team photo a random guy dressed as superman jumped in the photo. I didn’t do a good job of the team photo but superman’s pic turned out great!!
After about 30 minutes walking we hit the first beach and my brother congratulated himself on a job well done…. He then posed for a photo at a bus stop. Ugh, if this was the quality of the humour it was going to be a loooong walk 🤣!
Early on there was a huge demoralising set of steps that just didn’t seem to end and we all worried about what was to come. At times there were lovely views and other times it was just a dull road walk. For the first half of the walk we managed to rotate and walk with each other. We roughly stayed together even though we had different paces, meeting up at the checkpoints if we were separated. At one point Adam and Tess had shot off ahead of the rest us us, thinking we’d walked on but we were actually sitting in the shade eating fresh oranges!
The volunteers at this event were amazing! They were all so positive, clapping us on, wishing us well, handing us water, cutting up whole boxes of fresh fruit to keep us going. It makes me want to be volunteer in the future as the job was all about boosting wellbeing in simple ways.
Emily had a problem with her knee but a bit of strapping seemed to help. Michelle and I downed some vitamin I (Ibuprofen!) to help with our aches and twinges.
At the 20km checkpoint it was clear that our different paces meant that we wouldn’t stay together much longer. Tess was slowing down and hadn’t arrived by the time we’d all finished lunch. Adam, being the first to arrive at the checkpoint decided to press on. That was the last we saw of him until the end! Michelle called Tess and they agreed that we just keep moving. As we were leaving the checkpoint though Tess rounded the corner! I was so pleased – this girl was awesome!
She reported leg problems so we mentioned ending the walk here at a very respectable 20km. I suspected she wouldn’t stop though, as she’d set her mind on finishing one way or another. Michelle, Emily and myself were eager to move on so we said our goodbyes. Tess would need to rest a bit without us pressuring her to move on. Adam and Tess both really needed to walk their own walk in order to get though to the end.
My memory of the last fifteen kilometres is a little jumbled as I was getting tired. I remember a very easy bit of walking that enabled us to plow through a few kilometres with ease. We even called Tess to tell her the good news (she was walking again). I remember telling Emily that I was not happy with the road walking, then being presented with a bush track that climbed a headland and wishing it was 20km ago when I had the energy! We called Tess to tell her the bad news!
At some point a random lady appeared and handed out icy poles! That was brilliant! People can be so nice. We had a lot of people asking about what we were doing.
After a final push we neared the end and got a call from Adam. He was almost at the finish line so was waiting for us. That last kilometre seemed to go on forever but we met up and crossed the finish line together. Again the volunteers were fantastic, handing out water and snacks.
We celebrated our achievement with a drink at an overpriced establishment while we waited for Tess. We called, and from her description I thought she was reasonably close but in hindsight she had probably just finished the rough headland section. After a while Adam had to leave us to meet his family. I was determined to wait for Tess to come through as I felt a little bad that we were not all walking as one. The closing time for the event passed and a phone call to Tess revealed that the signage had been removed and she wasn’t sure which way to go. We told her to stick to the coast and pull out google maps. It got quite cold so we moved into a coffee shop to stay warm while we waited. Unfortunately the finish line was deflated and the event staff were packing up. Then I spotted her with her walking poles and bright red top and Emily and Michelle lept to their feet to meet her, while I looked after our stuff.
She’d done it! She was hobbling and was in pain but she’s done it! She’s got the ultimate first gear, she just keeps going no matter what! Indeed we should all be proud of ourselves for having done it. What an achievement!
After a bad coffee we all decided to head home. Emily was lovely helping Tess walk to the ferry.
I loved spending this time with my family and having chats while we walked. Maybe we will do this again next year? Who knows?
Oh… As Tess was not there for the finish line photo I altered the one I took of the rest of us. Check it out!