On Saturday night I joined with something like 15,000 other women (and some men) to walk through London to raise money for Walk the Walk.
The Moonwalk is a marathon walk through London, taking in some of its most famous sights, in the middle of the night. Women do the walk wearing their bras to show support for and raise money for breast cancer charities. I knew it was going to be quite an experience, I wasn’t wrong. 26.2 miles through the night wearing my bra.
I’ve been training hard for this and I was confident I could manage the walking part (left foot, right foot, repeat!). But I was always very anxious about the whole bra thing. As you know from my post showing you my creation, I was worried about de-tshirting and showing off my body to London. And all of you who gave me advice on the subject, you were (of course) right. I needn’t have worried. There was such a great atmosphere and inside the pink tent in Hyde Park there were simply thousands of woman wandering around and sitting down in their bras.
I treated myself to a cosy Walk the Walk hoodie, which I took with me on the walk and actually wore (unzipped!) the majority of the night to save me getting cold – you could still see my bra though! I obviously started and finished without anything covering my creation up – and yes, I carried that inflatable guitar around the whole thing with me!
There was loads going on before the start – entertainment, shopping, a meal etc. It was crowded and hot inside the pink tent and cold and boggy outside, but we found somewhere to sit and have our food and get ourselves ready. It got cold very quickly and stood waiting for the previous group to get far enough away for us to be allowed to go I was shivering, but I soon warmed up when we got walking. Each time we stopped for a pedestrian crossing (some of them took ages!) or for the loos I got cold again, it’s amazing how quickly your temperature drops when you stop moving.
The route took us through some of London’s most interesting places – Hyde Park, Westminster, Embankment, Battersea, Chelsea, Kensington, The Mall and so on. The way was well marked and there were volunteers in their bright yellow and orange tshirts and caps at every junction and on every corner. They were fantastic actually, really cheerful, the whole thing was really well organised. Oh and thank you to the lady holding the poster who told us we were “heroes of london”. What a lovely thing to stand out all night just cheering everyone on.
Walking at night was very interesting. It was one thing I couldn’t really train for – mostly because I wasn’t willing to do my training walks at 2am! But it made the whole thing different to anything else I’ve done. London never stops and so there were always cars and people around – lots of beeping of horns and cheering which was fabulous! I’m not sure the guy celebrating his 18th realised how loud we’d be singing him happy birthday – definitely one of the highlights of the night! And I wonder if the Firemen and Policemen and even Soldiers got fed up of having their photos taken with women (and men) in their bras? The quietest time was 3am-4am, which is when we walked through Battersea park, where the half way point was greeted with muted whooping as people were tired and realised it was the same distance again, and then through a residential area. The sun started to rise as we went by the Royal Albert Hall, and we really noticed the birds singing. We watched them open Gloucester Road Underground station and then London was buzzing again.
Oh but that last mile-and-a-half, going around the Serpentine in Hyde Park, able to see the finish line but walking in the opposite direction… evil!
It took us 7 hours 48 minutes to complete the marathon walk. I had thought we could do it faster than that but after the first few miles and realising how busy the walk was and how many times we had to stop and wait for traffic lights and to get through small gaps I soon realised it was not going to be a quick time. And anyway, who cares – this was never a race, this challenge was about walking a marathon overnight wearing my bra – I think I definitely deserve my medal!
This was an absolutely fantastic experience that I really enjoyed. And just over 24 hours later I’m not feeling too bad. My knees are a bit sore and my ankles ache a tad but apart from that I’m good. I’m really glad Bec, my friend who’s fault it all was, suggested we did it. I’m not sure if I’d do it again – for me this sort of thing is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, if only for the reason that I want opportunities to try lots of different events and activities – but I would be tempted to volunteer one year as that looked like loads of fun and very worthwhile too. If you’re thinking about doing this one then definitely go for it.
Thanks so much to everyone who has sponsored me to complete this challenge.
UPDATE 9th June 2012 – I raised a total of £267 in the end so THANK YOU very much to everyone who sponsored me. I’m sure Walk the Walk will use it wisely to help Breast Cancer research and care projects.