Annie, with a summer of zero training under her belt, I know… she thought let’s do The Founders Challenge, a corker of a 26 mile walk…was she mad?

The sun was high in the sky, the forecast blue skies and 19 degrees, sunglasses and caps on let’s get walking.

Annie would be racing back for a pint with Mr Gorgeous

Following the big sign-in with the other 200 entrants – some walking, some running,  some 16 miles, some 26,  all nuts – cups of tea and toast were supplied by the wonderful London LDWA (Long Distance Walking Association).  OMG Annie had not realised that this was a such an important and TIMED event, was the 15th Founders Challenge going to be something more than a stroll in the park.   Note to self, just take it easy it doesn’t matter if you come last….as if.

Ade, Annie’s heroine on the day, arrived with minutes to spare meaning a 5 minute penalty on our finish time, blow there goes the gold medal…

09.05 and we were off, good grief was this pace expected throughout the 3000 feet of ascent?  On-on, scraping past one group then another we were really motoring now.

The first checkpoint, 8.5 miles reached in exactly 2 hours: bourbons, custard creams, orange squash, jelly babies (heads and arms bitten off without care), then on-on again.

No time to eat our own picnics - grab and run

The views went by so fast only blurred photos taken on the hoof were possible, we couldn’t risk the time…..Annie was beginning to regret the: two litres of water;  two cashmere scarves;  two pairs of warm socks; four apples; two carrots; two slices of Vogel….with no stops planned, anticipated or allowed it looked doubtful that the extra weight would be consumed or worn!

Having whistled past all sorts of inspiring views, sites, places, including Blatchford Down we arrived at the 17.5 mile checkpoint 2, Tanners Hatch YHA after 4.30 hours walking we were still on track for…well Annie hoped for a picnic stop but no….for another 9 miles….on-on Ade was taking no prisioners….my head was screaming heeeeeeeeeeelp my mouth was saying….nothing.

1 pizza, 1 pint of your finest ale, a log fire and a big bed for one pleeeeeese

Ummmm the memories of the miles between 17.5 and 26 are indistinct, hit a wall of fatigue at 21, ate more jelly babies at 21.5, felt tired at 22 and so on.  The walk was completed in 7.17 and it is a stroll that is well worth doing, next time perhaps without the big picnic, spare socks etc. but with a bit more training.

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