Walk 5

Community spirit

What can I say? Walk 5 will definitely be a special one. The wonderful sense of community spirit that stretched across all four corners of the UK reaching the Highlands, Wales, West Country , Norfolk and down to us here in Kent – and further afield still : Australia, Tasmania and Canada too.

I’ve already highlighted that with lockdown in place and walking exercise limited to an hour a day outside of the home, thinking how I can complete each 20 mile walk is proving to be more of a challenge than a walk itself.

Since Walk 4 I’ve been struggling with my ocular migraines – nothing serious but a return of the dreaded aura and the ‘migraine hangover’. I suspect its as a result of my exercise being far more restrictive, and also having to stop the specialist pilates sessions that had helped ease these migraines. Another 20 miles walk at home was going to have to wait – but I needed to complete another walk soon to keep on target to complete 20 this year (I need to do 1 every 2 weeks roughly).

Then my friend Sam asked a question on my blog – could the challenge be completed vicariously by others? There are no rules around this as its my own challenge but it felt I might be outsourcing the challenge I’d undertaken. I wrestled with this a fair bit before deciding it was a brilliant idea. The purpose of fundraising is to not only raise much needed funds for The Macular Society but also understanding of their work and the support they provide. The more people who get involved with my challenge the wider the spread of this information. So rather than seeing it as Janes2020 ‘light’ it was actually Janes2020 ‘plus’.

The target was to gather 19 people who would all donate 1 mile from their daily walk – which would be roughly 20 minutes in time ( so 20 -20 in another variation!). With myself also walking that would complete Walk 5 from the 20 miles walked between us. The outcome was that 72 people (and 34 dogs) signed up donating anything from 1 to 5 miles each.

The Antipodean contingent led the way. My cousin Linda in Sydney and friend Theresa in Tasmania sending me their photos before I’d even woken up – this was a great motivator and start to the day ahead.

Linda in Sydney starting the day off with a real challenging walk
Tasmania – luckily we didn’t need woolly hats here as sun shone for us

All day my phone was pinging with the images and ‘miles’ coming in. The weather in the UK was lovely – an idyllic spring day and many of us were lucky enough to be close enough to woods bursting with bluebells.

Clare – on her break from working as a nurse to donate the miles with her fox red lab
Phil and Nina – bluebells and fox red labs too

We headed out too with Ruby & Wilf to clock up our miles and again later that evening I walked with our eldest round the garden (she is in the extremely vulnerable category so subject to shielding rules) to add another mile to the tally.

The messages and photos kept coming – lots of smiling faces holding up their phone apps or sharing their maps – heres a few to give you the sense of spread:

Ian (& Kathy & Tess) Surrey


Dawn walking view from Lucy in Essex
Samantha (thanks for the idea!!) with Jasmine & Daisy in Knoydart, Highlands
Jason & Sandy clocking the mile while working
on their allotment
Julie & Phil – near Glastonbury
Helen, Martha & Fraser in Modbury

Chris & Angie in Ticehurst

A special mention here too for my cousin Sharon in Wales. This has not been an easy time as her father’s funeral was the previous day and yet she still walked – with her son Ben and a big smile. Love you x

Sharon & Ben, Ammanford Wales

One of the best bits of all this was seeing everyones faces again, albeit a photo – and a sense of sharing something. Followed by lots of lovely messages pinging away with updates and chatter.

There was a common theme in these messages – everyone was enjoying walking with a purpose. Maybe our daily walks being governed and restrictive had seemed somehow to become exercising a right rather than a pleasure. I really miss walking with friends and talking rubbish for hours (maybe they don’t miss my rubbish nattering!) and yesterday I felt a sense of connection again – so thank you all…

I will ask one last favour and that is to please tell people you joined me and that we were supporting The Macular Society. Charities are all struggling with funding and are finding more demands on their services when resources are stretched. For those with a visual impairment the world at the moment is extra challenging – managing social distancing when your visual field is reduced- nervousness about attending hospital for essential sight saving injections. The Macular Society are supporting so many people with a raft of concerns and questions as many eye hospitals have seen staff diverted understandbly to the crisis.

By way of reward for your support yesterday I’ve collated all the dog images here for you to also share if you wish – maybe we can break the internet with them!

Walking swimming – waggy tails compulsory.

So finally – THANK YOU – 155 miles means between us we have completed equivalent of 7+ 20 mile walks. I will bank some of those miles in case I can not get back out properly before the end of the year – lets do this again sometime – hopefully in person. Stay safe lovely people and please do take time to share the collage of you all below along with the link to the donation page.

Janes2020 Donation Page

How lucky I am to know so many wonderful people

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