Three years ago I completed the overnight ‘Full Moon’ 26.2mile Moonwalk for Walk the Walk, and then last year I took part in the ‘Half Moon’ 15.1mile Moonwalk to complete the set.
Walking 26.2miles is incredibly challenging, possibly due to the length of time it takes, and it’s made tougher due to the nocturnal timing. I sobbed as I crossed the finish line the first time around.
This event is very generous in that the £50 entry fee includes a training t-shirt, branded high-viz cap, a Wonderbra to decorate, full training plan and advice, personalised Walker Number, bag label, weather protector, space blanket, glow-stick, a hot pasta or rice meal, flapjack, all the water you can drink, facilities along the route, a gorgeous medal and impressive entertainment. Each year there is a different theme and this year’s was ‘Roaring 20’s’, so the aim is to decorate the bra in this theme.
Two weeks before the 2017 Moonwalk, a lovely old colleague messaged me on Facebook asking if I’d like to take her place in the Full Moon Marathon as she was having knee problems and would have to pull out. I didn’t hesitate to say yes! She’d already paid and received the participant pack, which I popped round to pick up (minus the bra!). Due to the short time frame and a busy calendar I sadly didn’t have time to research and execute creative ideas, so had to just purchase a classy 20’s-looking bra with black lace.
So when it came to Saturday 15th May I travelled up to London alone, taking the 90minute-long train to Clapham Common and arriving at around 8:30pm. Once past security and inside the Moonwalk area there was a choice of bagging areas, more portaloos than I have ever seen, various mobile food & drink suppliers (all organic and healthy – brilliant), a white marquee housing WalkWear clothes to purchase, an information marquee, and of course the famous big pink tent. Inside that were water stations, an area to collect your free rice/pasta meals and flapjack, wash-off tattoo stations, masseuses offering free services, half-naked muscly men offering themselves for photographs, and a large stage where various performers entertained. I opted for a complimentary 5-minute back massage and the lady was friendly and chatty. The atmosphere in the tent was lively and fun; and a humbling minute’s silence took place before the walks set off.
Last year I made the mistake of taking a drawstring backpack and over-packed with unnecessary spare clothing and deodorants etc, so felt uncomfortable after over 12hrs of wearing it: I ended up with bruising on my shoulders and lower back. So this year I purchased a £5 roomy black bumbag from eBay and took only the bare essentials: phone, debit card, £50 cash, lipbalm, mints, tissues, wet wipes. There is an unlimited free supply of water, and snacks (including chocolate) available to purchase at the Moonwalk, so no need to take provisions. The bumbag worked wonders and it was super handy to have everything I needed right in front of me at all times instead of having to take a backpack on and off at regular intervals.
I was wearing my bra underneath the training t-shirt and a WalkWear zip-up hoody, coupled with full-length running leggings, Sketchers Flex Appeal trainers and of course the high-viz cap. I forgot to pin the Walker Number on (whoops!) but this didn’t seem to cause an issue and I didn’t see any photographers en route.
I was in the first wave to set off and left the grounds at 10:30pm. The volunteer marshals en route were encouraging all the way around, clapping and cheering and handing out sweets. The weather was dry and warm and the spectators/general public were friendly. I met a handful of other solo walkers and made some lovely companions. There were plenty of toilets and accurate distance signage at every mile. The walk seemed to go relatively quickly and it was a pleasant exercise…my body started aching around mile 20 and my feet started to become sore, but the desire to complete the walk in a decent time was enough motivation to keep walking.
The finish line was brilliant; volunteers and staff members clapped, cheered, shouted words of praise and took photographs. The large digital clock read almost exactly 5am: I’d walked 26.2miles in 6hrs 30mins (including two toilet stops!). There was plenty of seating and hot beverage stalls just after the finish line, so I grabbed a tea and headed to the taxi pick-up point just outside of the big pink tent. I was home by 6:30am and slept until midday. My hips and legs were sore for the next two days but I think perspective is key with events like this: feeling sore and tired is nothing compared to having cancer, or losing loved ones to cancer.
So, would I recommend the Moonwalk to others? Yes, absolutely – this is the sort of event that I would encourage anyone and everyone to complete. The whole event was well organised, professional and ran like clockwork. The atmosphere blew me away and I can’t fault anything. As this was my third Moonwalk I highly doubt that I’ll be returning, but I said that last time!! Never say never 🙂
NEXT UP: The Vitality London 10,000 on Monday 29th May!