We did it!
Over the weekend ‘The Milky Bar Kids’ negotiated the tough 100km of Trailwalker in a magnificent time of 25 hours 55 minutes. As I crossed the finish line, to be met by Helen, Henry and friends, I got quite emotional about what we had achieved and the events of the last five years.
In the summer of 2008 I would not have been able to even contemplate attempting a challenge of this magnitude. Since ITAP in December of that year I have gone through my second rehab, climbed Kilimanjaro, developed a taste for winter mountaineering and now, at the second time of asking, completed what must be one of the toughest tests of personal endurance and team spirit accompanied by great friends I met during our first African challenge. Taking part in the ITAP trial was not without risk but the rewards to date have justified my decision many times over.
Completing Trailwalker epitomises what’s great about ITAP: unlimited prosthetic endurance. I have an extremely sore real foot but have otherwise come through the ordeal uninjured. The people responsible for developing ITAP should feel justifiably proud that their technology has made the extraordinary possible!
This Year’s Route
View Trailwalker 2013 in a larger map
If someone were to ask me how my walk was today, I would have to reply ‘hilly!’
After missing the first training walk last month I was keen to get my Trailwalker campaign off to a good start. Fortunately our April training coincided with a break in the recent run of awful weather we’ve been experiencing. To make the most of the sunshine, our training organiser Alan thought we could do with gaining and losing some vertical distance to help build up our stamina – lucky us!
After setting off around 10am we proceeded to walk up and down all the steep bits around Box Hill (in Surrey) and didn’t encounter any flat terrain before lunch. The afternoon didn’t provide any respite as upon resumption our route characterised the rest of the day:
We were permitted one further slight pause in the afternoon whilst Alan formulated the final act in our day of hilly torture and eventually returned to our starting point a little after five thirty.
Inspection of my GPS tracking data revealed that we had only covered around 18km distance but had climbed 1250m and descended the same amount (that’s only around 100m shy of climbing Ben Nevis). When our day’s route was considered (below) it was easy to see how those figures were achieved – hilly repetition!
View Trailwalker 2013 Training – April in a larger map
Although it was an extremely tiring day, I enjoyed my first outing with the 2013 Trailwalker line-up (plus Grace), and I’m sure the training value was immense. I regularly think whilst walking in the hills how lucky I am to have participated in the ITAP trial. Without ITAP, a day’s training such as today in preparation for an endeavour such as Trailwalker would be a hopeless dream. At least today I made the most of the chance I’ve been given!