I have given up my social life over the last 8 months training for the Peak District 50k Challenge taking place this September. I and my Look Who’s Walking team members are hoping to be the very first blind and sighted group to undertake such an exhaustive challenge and to complete it in the allocated 12 hour time frame. The Look Who’s Walking team consists of Bhavini, Saul, Ian and myself.
I would consider myself reasonably active with a good base level of fitness due to my joy of seeking out adventurous activities, as well as regularly taking part in tennis and other sporting events. I started the year by doing short walks of 5k three or four times a week, and over the months I have increased the distance I walk.
Most recently, I completed my longest walk of 24 miles. My fitness levels were certainly stretched! With the final 3 miles being a struggle, the idea of jumping on the train at Cockfosters was extremely inviting. However, I persevered and hit the 24 miles. It isn’t every day that I’ll be able to say I’ve done 57,000 steps!
Personally, one of the biggest challenges has been finding people to guide me as part of my training during the evenings for a couple of hours and longer walks on a weekend to ensure I am well placed to complete the challenge. It highlights how an activity that is taken for granted by most people can instantly become inaccessible for blind and partially sighted people. I am extremely grateful to my family and friends who have walked with me and supported my training efforts over the past 8 months, and are continuing to do so leading up to the event. If it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t have built up the stamina to undertake such a challenge.
It has also encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and seek walking opportunities elsewhere. This has led to me attending a Meetup walking group, which for me was a huge deal to pluck up the confidence to not only be guided by someone I didn’t know, but to also walk with people I hadn’t met before. However, they were all super lovely and I’d happily walk with them again in the future even after my challenge. I believe mainstream activities such as walking should be inclusive, and I want to remove the need for vision people to only attend VI events.
Moreover, as part of my training, I’ve started making my own energy snack bars to eat during my walks. My speciality is a date-based bar. They have become my pick-me-up when the energy levels are dipping. After our 12 mile training day in June in the Peaks with terrain of various degrees of difficulty and the energy quickly disappearing, I can see myself chomping through several of my homemade creations on the big day.
For anyone wishing to sponsor my Peak District walk with the Look Who’s Walking Team, you can do so on our JustGiving page, or if you fancy walking with myself and Bhavini for the final few weeks, please contact us via the Look Who’s Walking website at https://www.lookwhoswalking.org/.
Hopefully my next update will be on the success of the challenge and how we all got on. See you soon!
Written by Masuma Ali, ELVis CEO