11th May 2016

Why it’s ok to give up – My K2B Experience


Each year when January rolls around almost 50% of Cumbrians will be found out walking the fells in preparation for the infamous 43 mile walk from Keswick to Barrow. The other 50% of Cumbrians are usually discussing how they would never in a million years even entertain the thought of taking on the 43 mile challenge. I have always fallen into the latter 50%, until this year. One of my new year’s resolutions was to say yes to more things, take on more challenges and improve my fitness level. So, when I received a text of my friend mid-April asking if I would join her work team as someone had to drop out, I had to say yess!

So that meant four weeks from the date of the event, I had just signed up to walk 43 miles all in aid of the Oncology unit at Manchester Children’s Hospital, and other than the small amount of dog walking strolls I have done this year, terrifyingly I had done absolutely no long distance walks. The next four weeks flew by; I had done one 14 mile walk, had a sickness bug for a week and visited London to watch the London Marathon, so very little amounts of training were done. I feel so far in this post I have just made excuses as to why I should not have even attempted the K2B and that is what I had been doing in my head for the past four weeks, however, giving up is not something that I do lightly at all and although it is probably one of the most challenging things I have ever attempted I was determined I wanted to complete it.

When the day came and I found myself setting my alarm for 2am to get the coach to Keswick at 3am to then set off walking at 6am, I won’t lie I was actually quite excited.

We got to Keswick at 5am where all the runners set off, followed by all the walkers at roughly 6am. We set off at a fairly good pace, as everyone was jogging past us, we decided to find a good walking pace and try and stick to that throughout the walk. The first couple of hours flew by, it was a beautiful 23 degree day and the scenery was stunning. Before we knew it the first 8 miles were done, I could start to feel my feet hurt and blisters forming so I quickly got plasters on them which unfortunately didn’t stop the pain. We got to the first checkpoint at Grasmere which was 13 miles in, fuelled up on some food and water and began walking again. This was a tough part, once I had sat down, cared to the humongous blisters that had formed on both of my feet, my legs felt ridiculously heavy and almost like they were made of stone.

The next checkpoint which was another 11 miles in went a lot slower, we decided to put our headphones in for motivation and try and tackle what I can only describe as an almost vertical hill which led into Elterwater, I made it to the top where everyone was gasping for air and reassuring each other that the worst bit was now over, at this point my feet were in unbearable amounts of pain due to the blisters that had formed and I was starting to doubt whether I would be able to make it another 20 miles after Coniston. I told my friend to speed up ahead so she can make it to the next checkpoint in good time and I was holding her back. It seemed to be never ending up until Coniston in which time I had managed to trip over a rock and sprain my left foot.

That was when I decided I was not going any further after Coniston, I had made it 23 miles and although I wasn’t happy with that I was scared of the damage to my foot I could have done had I gone any further, and also if I did carry on it is more than likely that I would have been the very last person hobbling in at 11pm.

This is the first time in my life that I have ever had to give up on something and for me it was an incredibly difficult decision to make, my mother is very much of the attitude that as long as your have given it your best shot that is all you can ask of yourself, whereas my father would never ever dream of giving up on a challenge and although he is proud of me no matter where I finish, the trait of not giving up and challenging myself is a characteristic I have inherited from my dad.

Although, giving up was an incredibly hard decision I do not regret it at all, I gave it my best shot and knew it would be an extremely challenging event to take part in, if anything it made me even more determined to get out walking, improve my fitness levels then should I attempt the challenge again I would have a better chance of making it to the finish line.

Well done to anyone who took part in the K2B on Saturday!!