I’m a reasonably happy walker. Five miles or so can be very pleasant on a nice day. Also, I know people who’ve done the Moonwalk for breast cancer, who I didn’t think were necessarily much fitter than I was, at least with the right training.
On this basis I signed up for the Carrots NightWalk 2013 in London – oh and pulled my sister (willingly) into it too, we both have aniridia.
We scheduled training walks, in and around various parts of London and the home counties. We started at 5 miles and over four months worked our way up to 13 miles. We walked at a respectable pace, but we weren’t going to break any records.
We planned our costumes, which we would be able to walk in. It was harder than we thought to find bright orange clothes.
On 20 September we were ready. We were very lucky with the weather. The forecast was dry and clear with a light breeze. Not wanting to fall foul of night time temperatures we took on board the advice of layering our outfit. At the start it felt cool but not cold and we knew we’d warm up soon enough. After a rousing send off from Noel Thatcher at 11.00pm, we were off. The walk was over four legs:
- A civilised walk heading west along the north and south banks of the Thames and then up into Chelsea/Bayswater and Kensington.
- A wide tour of Kensington and Hyde Park.
- Back down towards the west end and the City.
- The City and then back along the south bank of the Thames.
The night was clear and the view along the river rewarded our hard work.
There were three check points on the route. At each point your number was taken and you were invited to have a drink, a snack and a sit down if needed. The snacks were various energy boosting bars and entries for the carrot cake competition – with votes being taken on the walkers’ favourite. At the first check point I decided that four layers including my Carrots NightWalk T-shirt were too much and shed two of them.
On the road we joined up with different groups and made a good pace.
We finished at 4.30am and received a cheery welcome back at the IMAX. We received our medals and goody bags, before being directed towards the refreshments and our breakfast.
Although we were tired at the end, I think it was a good night. We met some great people and it does remind you what a great city London is.
Best of all I raised nearly £500 for research into aniridia and my sister £242. This will go into a pot to be added by the fundraising efforts of other people (you??) until there is sufficient there to make a grant.
Will we be doing it again? As the stiff joints eased I think another Carrot NightWalk could be on the cards next year!