Ham&High reporter walks two and a half marathons in a day wearing a dress for Oxfam
- Credit: Archant
On Saturday, Ham&High reporter Tim Lamden, 23, put on a dress and walked 100km non-stop through the Yorkshire Dales in aid of Oxfam. He describes the pain, exhaustion and elation that comes with scaling the equivalent of Ben Nevis and Snowdon in under 30 hours.
Going into this challenge, I hadn’t grasped just how far 100km is.
To walk 100km is the equivalent of walking two and a half marathons. It equates to 62 miles. A walk from Highgate Cemetery to Brighton Pier on the south coast is 56 miles. If you were to walk 100km around Parliament Hill Fields Athletics Track, you would have to do 250 laps.
But when I tackled this daunting distance, as a competitor in Oxfam Trailtrekker 2013, I wasn’t afforded the luxury of a firm, flat running track to stride along.
Instead I was subjected to all manner of energy-sapping terrain across the Yorkshire Dales - from long, steep climbs up rugged paths scattered with rocks to waterlogged marshes which pull heavily on your legs with every stride.
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Joining me on the challenge were three old school friends - John Waterfield, Tom Brown and Chris Fynes - as part of a team titled The West Country Wayfarers, a nod to our hometown of Gloucester.
We also had a team of parents supporting us along the way, meeting us at a handful of checkpoints on the route to provide us with food, drink and first aid supplies.
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The key, we were told, was to keep our feet dry and well-taped to avoid the crippling scourge of blisters. So packed into my rucksack were a dozen pairs of socks and enough tape to patch up a small army.
Setting off from Skipton at 6am on Saturday, the sun was shining and The West Country Wayfarers were full of energy - we even jogged certain sections and revelled in the challenge of overtaking other teams along the way.
Throughout the trek, I met baffled faces keen to find out why on earth I was adorned in a billowing frock - which, I hasten to add, stayed on for the entirety of the 100km challenge.
The wardrobe choice was a bit of a fun and a chance to promote Hampstead Oxfam, based in Gayton Road, who donated the frock.
By midday, and several sock changes later, fatigue was already beginning to show and the pace slowed as we endured shin splints and swollen feet - hardly surprising considering the bare minimum training we had done in the lead-up.
As the day wore on, hours seemed to pass in minutes and as the sun set - more than 15 hours after we had begun - the realisation dawned that having already struggled through 65km, we had another 35km to go.
The closing stages took us through the night and an almost hallucinogenic period between twilight and daybreak, as sleep deprivation took hold.
But as we dragged ourselves towards the final 20km mark, something in our moods changed and we seemed to snap back into life.
Eating up kilometres like maniacs, we jogged the final kilometre and crossed with exhausted delight in a time of 27hrs 25mins - placing us in a finishing position of 33rd out of 86 teams.
To date, we have raised more than £1,800 for Oxfam’s work in third world countries around the world, a total which is still rising.
If you wish to donate to The West Country Wayfarers, visit www.justgiving.com/wcw