I have huge admiration for anyone who takes on a challenge, and does so to raise money for charity. Challenges are there to push us to the extremes and require as much physical preparation as they do mental. That is the thing people tend to forget about challenges, they require as much physical preparation as they do mental.
We joined Jo Brand on Day 3 of 7, on her Hell of a walk challenge for Sports relief. Jo is attempting to walk 150 miles, coast to coast, from Hull to Liverpool in 7 days. If you break that down that is around 21 miles a day. Can you imagine someone telling you that you will be walking almost a marathon a day, every day for 7 days? Now that really is a Hell of a walk and certainly deserves support.
Myself, Penny and Jo met at Doncaster Racecourse and were excited about the day ahead. As the afternoon progressed and the arrival of Jo at the racecourse got closer, the room started to fill with more and more people. It suddenly dawned on all 3 of us how much organisation goes into a challenge like this. We were introduced to navigators, camera crew, photographers, assistants, support workers, logistics, trainers, GPs, Sport Relief staff and media co-ordinators. Not to mention the wonderful Gabby Logan who was joining Jo for the afternoon.
We were briefed that Jo was in good spirits, following a horrible wet day previously and that she was making good progress. In fact 52 miles in, or if you prefer 2 marathons back to back! I remember the pain after completing just one marathon and could only imagine how she must have been feeling. Our second briefing was outside just as we were about to set off. Stay with the navigators, pay attention to the roads and listen to instructions.
Our walk began at a comfortable pace, which my pregnant self was rather pleased with. It was clear Jo was hurting, but she didn't let the smile disappear from her face. She chatted in front of us with Gabby and even made jokes with the crew. When a member of the camera crew slipped off the pavement, they were walking backwards, Jo even made sure they were all-right before continuing.
The support bus kept driving past and stopping just ahead, the rickshaw cycled just in front with 2 camera crew inside and the team all walked around Jo and Gabby. It was clear talking to her trainer Greg just how proud he is of Jo. I took a lot of inspiration away from listening to him talk, 'break down the challenge into smaller goals and celebrate each achievement' I had a sense this was what Jo was doing.
Even when members of the public shouted abuse or started heckling, Jo took it all in her stride and took the bigger stance showing that her energy and her focus were on the challenge ahead. On route we met some lovely people who brought cake, donated money and simply gave Jo words of encouragement. We even came across a group who had set up a tea and coffee stop for Jo and the crew, what a lovely thing to do.
It was here that we had to say our goodbyes to Jo, Gabby and the rest of the crew.
I think we all left with a mixture of emotions. We all felt honoured that we had been asked to be a part of something amazing, sad that our journey could not continue and that we did not have longer to chat with Jo, Gabby and the crew and suddenly rather lonely as it was just the three of us heading back through the dark streets of Doncaster.
I feel so inspired by what Jo has achieved to date, let alone what she will have achieved at the end. It has got me thinking about what my next challenge will be, after the arrival of Thing 3 of course. If you feel inspired you can take a look at the sports relief site for further ideas. If you are a blogger make sure you keep your eyes firmly on Team Honk who will be making an announcement on February 1st about their plans.