Four years ago I completed the overnight ‘Full Moon’ 26.2mile Moonwalk for Walk the Walk, and then in 2016 I took part in the ‘Half Moon’ 15.1mile Moonwalk to complete the set, followed by another ‘Full Moon’ 26.2miles last year when a friend had to pull out due to an injury.
Walking either of these distances at night is quite challenging, due to the length of time it takes and the nocturnal aspect. I sobbed as I crossed the finish line the first time around! But I love it, and my mum had this event on her ’60 Things to do Before 60’ list as she’d never taken part before, so I didn’t hesitate to sign up with her, for my fourth time.
This event is very generous in that the £50 entry fee includes a branded training t-shirt, branded high-viz hat, a Wonderbra to decorate, full training plan and advice, personalised Walker Number, bag label, weather protector, space blanket, glowing wrist-band, a hot pasta or rice meal, flapjack, seemingly unlimited water, facilities along the route, a gorgeous medal and impressive entertainment.
Each year there is a different theme and this year’s was ‘Wild West’, with the aim of decorating the bra in this theme. For some reason I immediately thought of Woody from Toy Story and went about purchasing denim, cow-print, yellow gingham and red material, and found Sherriff badges on eBay. Sadly the event packs arrived only two weeks prior and our diaries were full in that two weeks with no spare time, so mum and I had to create our bras on the day of the Moonwalk which was a bit of a panicked rush!
So on Saturday 12th May we travelled up to London, taking the 90minute train to Clapham Common and arriving for 8pm. Once past security and inside the Moonwalk area there was a choice of bagging areas, more portaloos than I have ever seen, a few mobile food & drink suppliers (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 the 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 back massage and the lady was amazing – she got rid of a row of knots and could tell by the state of my shoulders that I’m sporty! The atmosphere in the tent was lively and fun; and a humbling minute’s silence took place before the walks set off.
I was wearing my bra underneath the training t-shirt and a zip-up hoody, coupled with full-length Ivy Park running leggings, Brooks Ravenna 8 trainers and of course the high-viz cowboy hat, all of which were super comfortable. My black bumbag contained my phone, debit card, £50 cash, lip-balm, mints, plasters, tissues and wet wipes. 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. Sadly though, the weather was overcast and chilly, and I couldn’t bring myself to take the t-shirt or zip-up hoody off aside from a quick photo, so no-one got to see my bra/work of art!!
We were in the third wave (out of six) to set off and left the grounds at 11:10 – there was a LOT of waiting around and it actually got slightly boring as we’d been there for over three hours by that point. However the volunteer marshals en route were encouraging, clapping and cheering, although we didn’t get any sweets or form of food this time around, unlike previous years. It meant that we were starving by the time we finished!
The route was the same as previous years so I knew what to expect. There were accurate distance signage at every mile and plenty of toilets, however the queues for these were ridiculous – on Southbank the queue snaked around a corner and doubled back on itself, lasting for 30minutes!
The finish line was lovely – volunteers and staff members clapped, cheered, shouted words of praise, took photographs and hung bespoke medals around our necks. The large digital clock read just after 4am: we’d walked 15.1miles in exactly 5hrs (including two toilet stops!). We headed to the taxi pick-up point just outside of the big pink tent area where kind friends picked us up… I fell asleep straight away and woke up as we approached my house at 5:30am, sleeping from then until midday.
So, would I recommend the Moonwalk to others? Yes – 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. There is a lot of waiting around however, and no food/snacks after the hot meal at 8pm! As this was my fourth Moonwalk, with two Fulls and two Halves under my belt, I highly doubt that I’ll be returning, but then again I’ve said that each time!! So, never say never 🙂
NEXT UP: The Vitality London 10,000 on Monday 28th May!