Sometimes in life we have no choice and are forced to undergo mental and physical challenges. However, sometimes we choose to put ourselves through certain challenges. When the option to quit is the easiest and quickest to take, but we decide to fight on, not give up and go to the very end, it says a lot about ones character.
We all have our personal reasons for doing so, but one thing can be said, the heart of a volunteer is as strong as they come. My friend Becca and her mum Julie took on a mentally and physically demanding challenge. One that would alter the way they think.
They would raise money for combatting Cancer by walking from London to Brighton in one stint, covering a total of 100km.
I interviewed Becca, to find out about hers and her mum’s journey, what it took, and what they got from the experience……
What made you both take on such a mentally and physically challenge?
Honestly, we had a few. As a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 20s, I imagine we had different reasons to take part. Over the past eighteen months. I have wanted to make myself proud. My mum has had her challenges, she has faced breast cancer and I think after a second episode last year, feels extremely lucky to be where she is now. It was our opportunity to raise money, try and make difference, challenge ourselves, prove ourselves and achieve something together as mother and daughter.
How did you prepare?
We knew our poor feet would need five star treatment so a lot of money went towards the perfect boots, socks, plasters, gels, powders, you name it, we had it! It is then about getting your body and mind used to enduring long tiring hours of walking. Our first training walk took place in March and after four and a half miles, my dad had to come and pick us up as we were already suffering with blisters. As the weeks and months went by, we just put plans aside and dedicated days to walk and walk until we could no longer go on. If I remember correctly, we completed a 10, 16, 21, 23, 27 and 30 mile walk in order to prepare. I would say my biggest piece of advice for training is to go to unfamiliar grounds. Walking around the same towns and streets becomes extremely dull!
What was the hardest part?
For anyone who isn’t used to participating in such events, the obvious answer would be the aches, pains and blisters in your feet and legs and unfortunately result in participants dropping out. Our bodies are the most wonderful things and taking part in a challenge like this can really show you what our bodies are capable of! For me, my emotions got the best of me. My thoughts and my state of mind controlled my entire experience.
Some of the people you meet along the way (because you do get talking) are absolutely remarkable and they alone, are a reason to do such a challenge. Everyone had their own stories, own charities to support and reasons for taking part, us included. Throughout the whole journey, the courageous and strong human beings walking by my side constantly overwhelmed me, most of all, my mum.
Did you feel like you wanted to give up?
Its ALL in the mind. If giving up is not an option, it will not happen. At no point of the walk, no matter how tired, achy, cold, bored or emotional I was, did I allow myself to consider if I should just give up or not.
What have you taken from this experience?
That if you want to do something, no matter how much people tell you that you cannot do something, if you really want to do it, you shall achieve. To watch my mum be told time and time again how she will not be able to complete the 100km and to see the determination in her every second of the journey, I will never forget it and it has only installed in me that anything is possible.
What advice would I give to someone that is undergoing such a challenge?
Be brave, don’t be scared of the challenge. Try to enjoy it and appreciate that you are in the fortunate physical and mental position to be able to take part in it. No matter how low you feel, get yourself to that finish line because I promise you, the feeling that overcomes your body when you can see it and you reach it is something that is very rare and special. If you can, take part with someone else or a group of people and share the experience. Don’t burry your head in the sand and pretend its going to be easy. It will be hard but that’s what a challenge is! It was an unforgettable experience and I am absolutely thrilled to have completed the London2Brighton Challenge……
Firstly, I want to say massive congratulations to Becca and Julie on your achievements. You don’t need to wear gloves in a ring, or wear a uniform to be a warrior. People either underestimate what they are capable of or overestimate themselves. However until you take that leap of faith into the unknown, you don’t have a clue what the outcome will be. Becca and Julie both volunteered to put their minds and bodies through pain and anguish. No matter what the odds, they stayed in the fight. Their resolve was tested and they came through it as warriors. This to me, is the spirit of Krav Maga.