My blog this week has a philosophical bent. Three groups of our walkers were doing something this weekend that they'd never done before, and for some it was either part of or the completion of a journey.
Ros and a group of our Nordic walkers spent the weekend Nordic walking in Dartmoor. Most have never been on one of our walking weekends before, and for some it was an important milestone on their personal journey to health and fitness. They had superb weather, delicious food and excellent company. They also had the most amazing place to walk. If you have never been to Dartmoor, I highly recommend you visit it one day. It is both barren and beautiful, where you can almost feel the soles of your feet absorbing nature (and if your shoes aren’t waterproof, a lot of dampness!). We know the most wonderful guide there, Elaine Sylvester, who takes us off the beaten track to places most walkers don’t know about. This was our third weekend trip there and I am sure we will be running another one, if not two, next year.
Joy Rodwell also accomplished an important journey today. She completed the Thames Path Challenge – a 100k walk in 24 hours. You may remember Joy’s guest blog back in July where she wrote about her attempt to walk the 100k along the Ridgeway, one of our National Trails. She was unable to finish that walk due to intense shoulder and neck pain, but today she achieved her goal of Nordic walking the Thames Path Challenge. Well done Joy – I know it has been quite a journey for you.
For me personally, today was also a special day. Today I Nordic walked the Bristol half marathon with Mims Ford. I knew her husband, Steve, through my walks at Penny Brohn Cancer Care. Steve was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus back in July 2012 and started Nordic walking with me in the November of that year. He and Mims had run practically every Bristol half marathon for the last ten years. It was a big part of their lives and a day that was very special for them both. Steve never was able to run again after his cancer diagnosis, but he did Nordic walk and boy, what a Nordic walker he was! It was something that kept him going when things got tough - if he could make my class on a Tuesday afternoon then he knew he was doing ok. We had a lot of laughs and he even qualified as a Nordic walking leader.
Sadly Steve lost his battle against cancer and died last November. He touched many people’s lives and those of us that knew him, miss him. So today was a journey for me and for Mims, who has been Nordic walking with me at Penny Brohn since Steve’s death. It seemed appropriate to Nordic walk this race, a sort of combining of two things that he really loved. It was certainly not the fastest half marathon Mims has ever done but it was definitely unique! Thank you to all those who cheered us on and entertained us by asking where our skis/the snow was – we’ve never heard that one before (hmm). Well done also to Sophie and Joe with whom we played a bit of a tortoise and hare race and who had also entered in memory of Steve. It was a great day, and a walk to cherish.