42 km (47,5 km) – with Louise and Natural Born Hikers.
Starting in Wendover on The Ridgeway around 8.30am we made our way to Wittington and Tring mostly over hills and through woodlands. That’s when I realised why the Chilterns are called C-hill-terns – they are hilly. We also had a big discussion about the white lion, a hill figure carved into the gentle slope below Whipsnade wildlife park. I heard about a white HORSE in the Chilterns before. So there was a huge discussion if this what we saw was a lion or a horse (although no blood was involved). From our angle we couldn’t really see the head, so i was fighting for my horse like crazy. Ah well… The tail gave it away… So everyone else was right and I was wrong… Apart from that I experienced a tree fart for the first time in my life. Scarry thing. It sounded like a tree is about to fall on us but it’s really the tree swaying in the wind scratching along another tree branch.
After 27k we had our long lunch stop at the Ashridge Estate where they have awesome cake. Yes, if you just walked 27k, burned around 5000 calories and you need energy, there is nothing more important than your lunch stop having cake. And water… And a loo… I was so jealous of Lou’s carrot cake that I bought a piece for later when I crossed the finish line. Especially, because I forgot the 2 most important things: my camera (thank god my phone’s got one) and chocolate. How could I forget chocolate on this important occasion??
After our break we kept on walking, and taking a few wrong turn here and there and towards the end we made huge detour of 2-3 miles which made the whole Marathon walk a little bit more challenging :-). Eventually, we walked 29.5 miles, a tiny bitsy more than we planned. But as the contemporary Japanese writer Haruki Murakami said: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional!” Frankly, I had a few moments when I really needed to communicate my pain. So about after 40k, you could hear me saying “OUCH!” about every 3k. I just needed to tell anyone, although I’m pretty sure I didn’t help anyone because everyone was fighting the same problem. Some more, some significantly less… (Adorable people they are.)
We finished the walk at 7.20pm at the Shoulder of Mutton. Hell, how I needed one to lean on… This time it comforted me in the form of a hot chocolate. One of the girls said we all looked like we were beaten up with sticks. Yep, I actually walked like an old lady.
When I compare my last marathon walk (Shine last September) with this one, I must say this was a much better experience. + Walking a group is much more motivating than walking alone. Chatting and eating can distract you perfectly from your pain. (Thank you to my 2 boys who kept me company for the few k). + Walking in daytime endurable. At least you don’t have to fight against tiredness additionally. Well apart from the one in your legs…
All in all, a very challenging, painful experience, well worth it, and a really nice group.