London 2 Brighton Challenge in memory of Leanne Faulkner

London 2 Brighton - Leanne Faulkner

A team of 5 of us embarked on the 100km walk from London2Brighton to raise awareness for CRY and in Leanne Faulkner’s memory. None of us have ever tried anything like this before and to be honest I don’t think we knew what we had let ourselves in for. Michelle travelled over from Portugal, Laila travelled over from Denmark, Mette from Belfast. I only had to travel from Croydon and Anne had to get up early to travel to Richmond only to have to walk back home to Brighton.

To begin with we were all full of enthusiasm and we even burst into song at some points, although I don’t think any of us with be auditioning for the X Factor anytime soon, especially me. Unfortunately as we were unable to train as a team we all had our own walking paces and meant we separated fairly early on. It was quite a hot day and although some of us only needed the toilet every 20 miles or so, some needed a wee every 2 miles.

The support along the way was fantastic including a very nice councillor offering the use of his toilet and if we needed to fill up our water bottles, I do wonder if anyone took him up on the offer. Countless people sat on garden chairs to cheer us on along the route, some had even taken the time and effort to put up a banner and blow up balloons. There were some lovely children who had set up a water station out of the boot of their parents’ car and also a boy and his dad offering scoops of ice cream at 9 o’clock at night. It really did make a difference and kept us going.

The organisation and support from the Ultra Challenge team was fantastic. Everyone was very supportive and encouraging. It was lovely to see their smiley faces at the check points. I’m not sure if I caught the first aid nurses at a low point but their bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired. I screamed when the skin of my little toe was ripped off. My friend could tell she was going to lose a toenail and the nurse just kept pressing it, causing a lot of pain and she did wonder at some point if she could continue.

The stiles were a challenge especially when you are as short and fat as I am, the muddy slippery ones were definitely something I never want to have to climb again and there were a few swear words when we saw one another one coming up. But then Shell is known for her colourful language.

We had an awesome team Laila and Mette managed 50 km, Shell and Myself managed 80 km and Anne The Star completed it. But we can’t forget our personal support team of Grant and Kane Faulkner who were there at every check point, carried our bags and gave feet and neck massages.
Would I do it again????? ABSOLUTELY as next time I will do the whole 100 km instead of just the 80 km and take more pain killers.

Jo Ellaway