Full version of an article written for a local magazine
Walking for a Breakthrough
Living on the edge of the South Downs National Park I have always loved walking, but recently I have surprised myself by what I have achieved, through pushing boundaries with my fitness. As a Graphic Designer my daily life is fairly sedentary other than lunchtime strolls, so a few years back I decided to change this with more frequent gym sessions and of course more walking.
I first entered the Eastbourne Half Marathon, never intending to run, but as way of having a training goal and a 13 mile distance to aim at was my starting point. Elevating this with a pier to pier walk, from Hastings to Eastbourne of around 18 miles. This was also my first charity event in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and the start of something new. I was now starting to challenge myself further each year, and 2011 saw me entering a Trekathon from Lewes to Beachy head, at full marathon distance. Being cross country and with the Seven Sisters as the final stretch, I found this pretty tough, and the last few miles were very slow until I finally trudged across the line. At the beginning of 2012 I was looking for the next challenge, and wanting to keep on upping the distance, good old Google found me the London 2 Brighton Challenge. This sounded great, being nearby, but was a massive jump at a distance of 100km. 62.5 miles, an ultra marathon! I was a little unsure at first, but if I really wanted to get fitter a challenge like this would require some serious planning, training and deciding who I would be raising money for.
The company I work for supports Hope for Children, and i have had close connections with them for a number of years, so having made this decision, I signed up and my first 100km challenge was on!
Training was going to be key and luckily the welcome pack contained information on a 15 week training plan, which I followed closely enabling me to successfully complete my biggest challenge yet. The temptation of half price entry to the Thames Path 100k convinced me to surprise myself further, especially as I had just joined a group tackling the 3 Peaks Challenge as well! I was quickly finding that these challenges would be addictive. There is nothing really comparable that gives you the same feeling. At the start hoping that you have put in enough training, knowing that you will be walking through the night for over 20 hours. All manner of hardships and struggles along the way, and then the massive feeling of elation and relief as you cross the finish line. Remembering the fact that your are walking for charity as the key thing that can really keep you going when It gets tough, and I was really pleased that through these 2 events I raised £1500 for HOPE for Children.
This year I am doing another 100km charity event and possibly the toughest. The Trans Pennine Challenge, set in the Peak District, starting in Manchester and walking to Sheffield. I chose to walk in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer again, as I think that this disease has hit most families at some point, but most of all I am doing it in memory of my Aunt as this has given me experience of the hardships it can cause. Their mission is to save lives through enabling and ensuring access to improvements in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Sounds like a good thing to me! If you would like to kindly sponsor me and help me reach my target of £1000 for this great cause please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/OliverPrentice
Thanks to all those that have supported me along the way, and especially to those friends that helped me train, and the amazing inspirational people I have met along the way. Walking really is a great way to keep fit but why not combine it with fundraising and maybe you can help make a breakthrough too?