Are the team ready?
As Friday morning draws nearer and the start of the walk looms, we caught up with some of the team taking part to see how they are feeling about the weekend ahead. Walking the equivalent of a marathon a day for the next three days, the team shared their thoughts, feelings, excitement, and apprehensions with us. See what they had to say below (you might be surprised to hear how prepared they are!)
How are you all feeling about the walk ahead?
Bridget (Office and Finance manager): “I’m so excited! I love a challenge! I saw a sign for the Leeds Country Trail when I was out the other day and I got really excited thinking ’we’re going to be on that soon!’ I’ve looked at all the maps and the entire route and yeah, it looks great, I’m so excited!”
Georgia (Pregnancy Advocacy Service Project Lead): I’m looking forward to it. I think the fatigue will set in on day two so I’m nervous about that but otherwise I’m really excited. It will be nice to be outdoors for such a long period of time, I haven’t don’t that in a while.
Lydia (The Key Change and Snowdrops Project Lead): I’m very nervous! I don’t know if I’ve ever walked for 7 hours in one day before, let alone for 3 days! So yeah, I’m really nervous. But I’m excited too and I think our cause is a good motivator. When you’re out for a nice walk by yourself you can just decide when you turn back but not with this, you have to keep going, but I think we’ll be ok. We have,good motivation, a good cause and a good team to keep us going!
Hannah (Rainbow Hearts and Feel Good Project Lead): I’m very nervous! I was alright until I got back to work after annual leave on Tuesday and then I realised – it’s this Friday! It's come around really quick, but I’m sure we’ll all be fine.
What training or preparation have you done for the walk?
Bridget: Hardly any! I’m planning to run on pure enthusiasm and adrenaline! I don’t really do any training for any event – I did the 10 peaks and didn’t do any training for it. I do a lot of exercise on a day-to-day basis so I’m hoping that will be ok.
Lydia: I put my treadmill at the gym on an incline when I run instead of running on a flat, and I’ve been doing the stair master instead of not doing any cardio at all! My mum said to me at the weekend “at least it’s just round Leeds so it will all be relatively flat”, and I was just like “Mum, you live in Cambridge, Leeds is not flat in comparison!”
So, to confirm, Bridget, you’ve not done any training, and Lydia you’ve done a little bit at the gym?
Bridget: Well, I am doing training, like, I went on walks the other weekend to Striding Edge and stuff like that, but I do stuff like that anyway. I haven’t done any special training, just kept up with what I normally do.
Lydia: That’s what the mad part is isn’t it? When we first started talking about doing such a big walk, we talked about getting a couple of dates in the diary and all getting together and having team walks, and even talked about doing a full weekend, but when we tried to get dates in the diary none of us could do any! So then we talked about individual training and each of us setting weekends aside to go for long walks and again none of us have had time to do that so now it really feels like being thrown in at the deep end!
How about you Georgia and Hannah, how have you got on with training?
Georgia: I’ve taken the “Bridget Approach!” I feel like, well, it's very hilly where I live so I’ve been trying to do a lot of walking around where I live on the weekends and stuff, but it's just what I would normally do anyway. And then my approach for this week is to do as little as is physically possible in the hope that it gives me a mad burst of energy and to avoid any injuries or anything like that before the walk!
Hannah: I’ve not done very much preparation either I all honesty. I mean, I walk a lot anyway, it’s not like I’m worried, I’m very fit and very active so I have no worries I that sense, it’s just time on feet that I’m a bit nervous about. I think if times were a bit different, and it hadn’t been over the summer holidays where things have been really difficult in terms of childcare and stuff I would have like to have done some multi-day walks in preparation just to get used to being on my feet for such a long time over consecutive days. So I’m a bit apprehensive that I haven’t been able to do that, but I have done things like this before and I know how tired I’m going to be, I know how difficult it’s going to be so I’m not stepping into it blindly, and I think I’ve got enough stubbornness in me to keep going.
What are you guys most apprehensive and most excited about?
Bridget: I’m most apprehensive about keeping the team motivated! Because I suggested this ridiculous challenge, I feel a little bit responsible for keeping everyone motivated but I do have a really good feeling that we’re going to reach our fundraising target which will help so yeah, I feel excited about the money we’ll raise for the organisation and the women we support. As difficult as this may be, I feel that this challenge is raising our profile. We’ve sent out so many letters and told so many people and organisations about what we’re doing, I just think that’s got to be a good thing!
Lydia: I’m most apprehensive about the early starts! I am absolutely not a morning person, I don’t even get up that early for work! We’ll be setting off before 7 each morning!
Bridget: Yeah, I can relate. Whenever I do a long walk and I have to get up at the crack of dawn to pick everyone up and then go, and then I don’t sleep the night before because I’m worried that I’m not going to wake up in time.
Lydia: YEAH! And then on top of that the exhaustion of waking up on day two, day three after so much walking, I’m just sure that I’m going to turn over and be like “oh no, that alarm can’t be right!” and go back to sleep and miss the walk!... I do think that the thing that I am most excited for is, like Bridget has said about the connections we have made and the more people that will know about us know, and also just seeing the good that the money raised from this campaign will do. Like, the women love doing the wellbeing stuff in group so much and with the funds raised it’s going to be so great not having to say to people “That bit of funding has finished so we can’t keep supporting you with X,Y and Z now” because this will go to core funds, it will be our funding to support women in the way they feel it’s needed.
Georgia: I am most excited for the journey I think, like, it’s going to be quite an epic mission for the 5 of us and I think we’re going to have a whole new level of bonding as a team. I really looking forward to the end of the weekend where you look back on big walks and you just remember all the different parts of it and yeah, I really looking forward to just….I’m not from Leeds and I’ve not ever really lived in Leeds for long periods of time so getting an idea of how all the different parts of Leeds fit together and how far women travel to come to our groups. And then the thing I’m most apprehensive about is just being grumpy and hungry because I just need to eat all the time, so yeah, I need to do a shop this week and load up on the snacks and make sure I’ve got plenty with me! I also need to spend some time just packing my bag making sure I’ve got everything I need, working out what I’m taking that sort of thing.
Hannah: Blisters is my biggest fear…blisters are the worst because they can affect, you know…if one of us got really bad blisters it could stop us from finishing the walk. It sounds ridiculous but they can be really debilitating. I don’t know any of the route either so it’s stepping into the unknown…I know areas of it, but I’ve not walked that whole route before. I can map read so I’m not scared about getting lost but yeah, we don’t know if bits are going to be overgrown or anything like that so yeah, there’s just that element of stepping into the unknown. But I also feel like that’s the really exciting thing, I feel like I know Leeds quite well but there are going to be bits of Leeds that are totally unknown and bits of Leeds where we all go “Oh wow! this is beautiful!” and other bits where we aren’t going to have a clue where we are. And I think because we’ll be walking in areas that we don’t know and areas we aren’t familiar with it will give us a better idea of what the whole city is like. And I’m really looking forward to meeting people along the way and having a bit of a natter. Essentially, I’ve turned into my dad! O whenever I go for a walk I am that woman who goes “Morning”, “Hello!” “Nice day for it!” to everyone that I see! And yeah, I think Yorkshire folk are dead friendly so yeah, really looking forward to a few chats along the way. And we’ll all be wearing the same t-shirts so people will ask questions and it will be a great opportunity to get the message out and, you know, maybe for people who don’t follow us on social media or who don’t know about us, its all really positive.
And final question – what would it mean to you if people made donations while you were out on the walk?
Lydia: It would definitely feel like it’s all been worth it!
Bridget: The donations would make me feel supported… yeah, especially because we’ve never done anything like this before we’ve never organised a fundraising campaign like this we’ve never…it’ll just feel like it was worth all that effort
Lydia: I also think it would be a nice sign….we’re doing it in order to kind of raise awareness of the cause but also for the individual women. We’ll all have one woman in mind on the walk that will be our tie to the organisation, and you’ll be thinking “actually, I’m doing this so X can do this with her kids” or whatever that is, so for me I think its that idea that we’ve been able to represent those women and their struggles and get that across to other people and then they’ve made that donation.
Georgia: I think sometimes giving to a charity can be…you don’t really know where your money is going, but I think we’re such a direct impact charity in the way that we work. When you donate money, it’s going to go towards us doing something that has a direct positive impact on somebody’s life and its lasting so yeah, it would mean a lot to me in terms of the fact that sometimes the things that we do are just beyond your normal day to day and are the things that have the most impact, whether its taking a bit of time to chat with someone or like we did earlier this week and take a family who wouldn’t normally be able to afford it for a really lovely day out – that was an incredible day that will stay with them and with all of us…so yeah, it would mean a lot and would mean more things like that would have a real impact for people in Leeds, so if people donate money, that’s where the money will go.
Hannah: I would just want to say Thank you to anyone that makes a donation while we’re out walking. They’re like messages of positivity to us! And I just think that any donation especially at this time, you know, we are all struggling, life has got difficult, I’m so grateful to anyone who can offer anything. Everyone is finding things tricky at the minute, so I’m especially grateful at moment for anyone who can donate, and I also appreciate that some people who might want to donate can’t donate right now and to those people, I would say please just share our stuff, please send messages of support, please share our posts and help us raise awareness of our cause. Although that’s not a financial donation, it really helps us and it really goes a long way in supporting us and showing us that there are people out there who believe in us and in our cause. And for those who are able to financially support, I just think that money goes such a long way to help the women that we support. And I love the fact that we are walking the whole of Leeds, because we support the whole of Leeds, we support women across the whole city and I like that people from across Leeds are donating money to us to help people in their city. I just think it’s all great.