I’m pleased to be able to say that, for the second year running, I’ve complete the full thirty-miles of the Mendip Challenge, once again organised by Weston Hospicecare.
I only signed up for this year’s event a couple of months ago. For 2014, I was one of the first to join, earning the bib number of No.11! However, I was still surprised to receive such a low number (147) so close to this year’s event… Nevertheless, as the day began, I saw other bibs up in the 600s – not bad at all, considering this year’s event clashed with the Bristol 10k run.
Heading in to it, I knew it would be good to beat my time from last year and I felt confident in that I could do that, if only by quarter of an hour. Passing the penultimate checkpoint yesterday evening, I could not believe that I was set to break my previous record by such a milestone – and then, I returned the registration tent at 17.15!
Our coaches arrived in the centre of Wells at 7.45am, according to my watch. Officially, the walk/challenge is supposed to begin at 8.00 but in any case, this means that I beat last year’s time of ten and a half hours by one whole hour!! I’m astounded by that!
Breaking it down, I realise that I didn’t get lost (albeit following others) around Mascall’s Wood in Cheddar. A few of us collectively missed a turning near the checkpoint in Shipham but we only lost a couple of minutes at best. In 2014, I made an optional climb up to Crook Peak before returning to the West Mendip Way and heading on to Loxton, which could’ve added twenty-minutes. Most of all, I felt more assured of the route, having walked it twelve-months ago – and you’ll see why that was so important when I come to upload the photos in a few days!
It’s a great event and, if you don’t fancy walking 30 miles, you can choose to do 20, 10 or even 5 miles and still be involved. Last year, we had electronic tags (for GPS tracking?) fastened to our laces. This year, it was wristbands with removable tabs but this event always seems to be so very well organised.
As I prepare myself for the 31-mile Exmoor Perambulation in three-weeks time, I wonder how that event will compare?
There were a few faces I recognised from last year’s event and it was great to meet a few others – including Anna, who reads subscribes to this blog (Hi, Anna!) and a few others who I’ve since been able to reconnect with through Instagram and Twitter. It’s amazing how technology can sometimes bring people together. After de-registering at the end, I spotted a surprise in the form of someone I know from Brunel Walking Group – but, by the time I’d stopped playing with my phone, her group had left and I didn’t get a chance to say hello.
Today, I’m feeling the effects and I’m glad to have taken the day off work. I’m not sure of what to expect down in Exmoor but I fear I’ll need to up my training from here on. Another plus – I survived the long-distance in my new walking boots, even though I had to stop to re-lace them at several checkpoints.
Thanks for reading, a huge congratulations to everyone who took part and a massive thanks again to Weston Hospicecare! I’m sure I’ll be involved in some way next year.