In 2005, I completed the Oxfam Trailwalker. You may not have heard of this. It is a charity endurance event, modelled on the forced marches of the Gurkha Regiment in the British Army. The expectation is to traverse the South Downs Way from Petersfield in Hampshire to Brighton in Sussex – a distance of 100km. The route takes in the hilliest terrain in the south of the UK – which – whilst not exactly Everest Base Camp is still a decent climb. We did the 100km in 18 hours. The fastest group (Gurkhas) did it in under 11. I think the slowest group may still be there.
I was in a team of four with three MUCH fitter people – and this at a time when I was still playing National League Rugby – they were annoyingly fit. I was very much the fifth wheel in a team of four.
Anyway, I mention this because I can remember that 18 hours really vividly. It was a June day and hot for England, about 30 degrees. I can remember every 5km point – I can still picture where they were. At every one, I divided that by the overall distance and repeated the mantra… ‘I can do this x more times!’. So, after 5km…’That was okay… I can do this 19 more times!”. After 10km…”That was bearable… I can do this 9 more times!”.
Well, this week for all of us was hard. We were pushed, a LOT of us, well out of our comfort zones. IT systems that are normally as reliable as the sunrise failed. But – we are through 20% of it! We are doing okay. I am watching the teaching reports come through and it is clear that we are cracking this.
We have knocked over one week… Don’t worry, we can do this four more times!