Peter has always enjoyed being active, so this year's Ultra Challenge was the perfect opportunity to get out while doing some good.
A pretty hardcore day
It’s tough to organise free time away from weekend family commitments. However, ask your wife and teenagers if they’d like to come walking 50km in a day with you, and you soon find a potential diary window becomes available!
After signing up for the 50km Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge with my old college friend Marc in 2018, we both agreed that we should go for it again in June 2019 – this time in the beautiful Cotswolds Challenge, starting out in Bath in Somerset and ending in Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire.
After last year’s Isle of Wight experience, we were under no illusions that this would be a pretty hardcore day of walking. Starting out in the relative cool of the early morning, and finishing as the sun was setting. On the plus side, a weekend away chatting and laughing as you walk through beautiful countryside, quickly saw the stresses of the working week and city living melt away. We’re both relatively fit and active, and at least for the 50km version of the Challenge (perhaps not the harder 100km!), didn’t undertake any special training in preparation.
A real sense of achievement
As we left the start at The Royal Crescent and environs of Bath behind, and joined the Cotswold Way, the summer sun beat down and the temperature nudged into the high ‘20s. Our fellow walkers were a friendly, talkative bunch, and it was very clear that a number of them also had the ‘Ultra Challenge bug’, coming back for more year after year.
Yes, you get tired. Yes, you get blisters. Yes, you’ll swear quietly as the evening sets in, and you still have miles of walking left to get to the finish! But something else happens too. The camaraderie quotient goes up a notch in those last few miles, you realise a real sense of achievement as you pass each rest stop along the way, and you see parts of the country you’ve never seen before (including walking through the Capability Brown-designed landscape of Dodington Park on this Challenge).
So I’ve got the Ultra Challenge bug, along with thousands of others every year. It’s billed as ‘a day you won’t forget’, and I certainly won’t forget my two Challenges to date. Indeed, I’m already planning for 2020. Bring it on!
If you've been inspired by Peter's story, you can take on one of our Walks and Treks.