Poverty, Pleasure n Pain – that was our team name and it encapsulated our walk. We walked for poverty, grateful for the many people who had sponsored our steps.
We enjoyed many moments of pleasure…..
Ah yes, especially that 50km mark – we were feeling so strong mentally and physically, in fact we skipped into the next checkpoint full of enthusiasm. Then we headed off into the darkness……and eventually into the pain. Collectively we suffered from breathlessness that looked like a heart attack, but wasn’t, sore muscles, blisters and buttock chafing. Personally, I have an old knee injury which decided to flare up about the 70km mark and I got progressively slower. In the end the team decided to have me pulled off the course so that they could continue at a good pace. And good pace we had been doing. It was intentionally slow but steady, planned to ensure we would finish, hopefully in 30 hours. At the first checkpoint we came in almost last (out of 236 teams). By the sixth checkpoint we had climbed to 159th – just by continuing our steady plod.; and we were three hours ahead of our schedule. But I threatened to blow that, so reluctantly accepted a lift 4km to the checkpoint before the final leg. Despite the pain and fatigue and blackness still enveloping us, I desperately wanted to finish and begged the officials to let me walk the last leg and return to do the missed 4km when we had finished. They gave permission for the former, but not the latter – I was grateful for their grace because having got that far I was uber-keen to finish.
A quick visit to the medical post saw me strapped up and ready to trudge the final 13km, which turned out to be walked almost entirely in the rain. I didn’t mind because I was thankful to be walking and thankful that the serious rain had held off for so long. The pain could have been much worse!
And so we got to the end……faster than we had expected (in spite of the drama), but hardly euphoric. We were wet, cold and miserable, and in my case, feeling like an imposter. It was all anti-climactic!
But we had given our all and I would like to thank all of you who made it worthwhile through your sponsorship. If you would like to give now that you know we made it (or give 96% of what you would have given if I’d walked 100km!!), it is not too late to do so. We have a page on the Oxfam website where you can donate – click here!
To everyone who has been a support along the way – from the motorhome lender to cook to candle-lighter (yes, one of our support crew created beautiful ambience in the darkness!) to massager to water-pourers to clean sock providers to those who wrote encouraging messages and prayed and gave, I thank you. At the end of the day this was a team event and I learnt a lot about teamwork – thanks for joining with us and being part of the team to fight poverty in the Pacific.
(By the way, overall we came in as the 160th team – and that included those who started at 6am. We started at 7, so it just goes to show Aesop was quite right about the tortoise getting there in the end)