Leigh on Sea Striders have organised many charity challenges in the past and whilst this one was 62miles in one hit, it was closer to home and for a great charity, The British Heart Foundation.
The signing up was of course the easy part and when 30 members of the LoSS family met at Fulham Place at 8am on Saturday morning there were certainly some nerves but at that time we were happy and smiling ready for the challenge ahead.
Checkpoint 1 – Borough Market, London – 15km
Blimey it was hot! Really hot, but the first 15km was scenic and apart from a very busy Southbank very enjoyable. However, the heat was starting to affect people’s feet and many blisters were in need of attention. Thanks to Claire for the impromptu leg and back massages she was offering!
Checkpoint 2 – Cutty Sark – 25km
Concrete after concrete path was tough on the feet. A long 10k hugging the Thames through some very sleepy places in London. More Blisters. More Massages, and still so bloody hot! But the whole team was still in once piece.
Checkpoint 3 - Beckton – 38km
The scenic element has now passed the highlights being a loop around the O2 Arena, and a very chilly 1000m tunnel under the river. Still hot. Feet for many are now an issue with the checkpoint looking like a first aid tent in a warzone!
Checkpoint 4 – Rainham – Halfway 50km
Walking through Barking, always a pleasure! But the whole team make it. Just! The Loss family was reduced by six here, some had pre planned that, others like myself couldn’t even contemplate doing it all again. Many were in bits at this stage but showed incredible grit and determination to set off for the second half at 9pm. Thank you to Mike Dawson for supporting the team and his snack and drinks.
Checkpoint 5 – North Stifford – 61km
It’s now dark, so head torches worn by all. Glow sticks and great signage by the organisers help guide the way. Two more decide to call it a day, with feet in shreds and feeling unwell. This is really a brutal challenge. Mike kindly plays taxi again. I wonder if anyone felt bright enough to joke about the town Stifford!
Checkpoint 6 – Orsett – 67km
Pitch black, and thanks to a grumpy farmer, an extra 2km added! But so many of the team are still moving.
Checkpoint 7 – Pitsea – 79km
Sadly lose another 3 after an incredible 75km. Go Outdoors Checkpoint under the Pitsea flyover is madness with so many people being treated. Truly Amazing.
Checkpoint 8 – Hadleigh Farm – 88km
The organisers choose to throw in the Hadleigh Mountain bike route into the 100km as if it wasn’t challenging enough! I am now getting abuse as to why I even suggested something so incredibly tough. It’s totally justified! I feel my emails will be going straight to spam in the future!! Mike Dawson is on hand with sausage rolls and Dean Ovel follows with fried egg rolls, the front group have already powered through determined to finish and complete in sub 24hrs!!
Finish – End of Southend Pier – 102km
Cheered along the final stage by many of the extended LoSS family, I’m sure seeing the Southend Pier has never been so well received! Our final team members finishing at 1pm.
The fact that people signed up to this challenge is testament enough to the great people in Leigh on Sea Striders. To make it halfway or further is an incredible achievement. But to do the whole 102km is something special, something superhuman, something that you should be so proud of achieving. How 14 (Sian Ovel, Darren Summers, Jackie Camm, Eric Britton, Mark Keeble, Niki Read, Michelle Melville, Lisa Westwick, Jo Weingarten, Claire Dumontier-Marriage, Paul Maskell, Alice Raffill, Gail Alexander & Rea Evison) of you did it I will never know, but you did and for that you have my total respect and admiration.
Thank you to everyone for being part of this challenge and in raising lots of money for the British Heart Foundation.
Is it too early to say bring on 2016!!