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Emma's Dublin Adventure

Not only did I get fitter, raise loads of money for the amazing charity that is Walk the Walk and see the most wonderful places, I also met a whole load of inspirational people, who I am now so proud to call my friends.

So.... it all started well over a year ago. After MoonWalking in London since 2010, I decided that for my 50th birthday year, I would do the Three Lands Challenge. It was the best birthday present ever! Not only did I get fitter, raise loads of money for the amazing charity that is Walk the Walk and see the most wonderful places, I also met a whole load of inspirational people, who I am now so proud to call my friends.

Why is this relevant to me deciding to take on the Dublin Marathon in 2017?  Well, in one word, Elizabeth. I met her on the Three Land Challenge and after many of us who lived near-ish to London agreed we would keep on meeting up for walks. When we read about the Dublin 2016 experience and saw some of our friends were taking it on, we were interested, to say the least. Elizabeth was keen to crack the 7 hours. "Come on, let's do it", she said. I took pretty much no persuading. So we signed up, with my long-time walking buddy Anna. Gradually, more and more of the 2016 3 landers signed up. Then some of the 2017 3 landers, who I had met through friends of friends. Suddenly it seemed that I knew over half of the team already, and knew of nearly everyone else! I always knew WTW was one huge, inclusive family, and here was the proof!

I hoped the Dublin time limit wouldn't be a problem. I'd done 11 MoonWalks, and all but the first had been under 6:30, a few of them under 6 hours. I decided my challenge to myself was to go under 6 hours in Dublin. I was so excited by the thought of a marathon in the daytime, and a little scared by the thought of so many runners all around me, and of walking round in my decorated bra in broad daylight! Especially as my limited sewing skills had literally come unstuck in both London and Edinburgh when my creations had unravelled by the end of the MoonWalk!

The training went well, apart from one huge and unwelcome blister, and we had many lovely walks. All through the training, the motivational messages and phone calls from Sam and Jen from WTW checking up on us were very welcome!

So, the big weekend arrived! The "Heathrow 6" met at the bar in Terminal 5 and kir royales followed - just like three of us had done for the Three Land Challenge. On arrival in Dublin, we met the "Stansted 3" at the airport and caught the big blue bus to our lovely hotel, where Sam and Jen and almost all the rest of the team awaited us. 

Our briefing for the weekend took place over a delicious afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea in Dublin

 After that, we felt in need of a walk to the expo where we could collect our numbers and other goodies. Some collected more than others!

Dublin group

Saturday was, obviously, spent largely at the Guinness Storehouse, and the evening at the "pasta" party in a fabulous restaurant (and not even necessarily including pasta!).

On Sunday, after getting the extra hour in bed as the clocks went back, we consumed huge quantities of energy-giving breakfast, had a photo call in the cold and off we headed to the Start Line. Somehow, we got ourselves to the front of our start and powered off over the line with runners all around us. I decided before the start I was going to track Tricia as I knew she would help me reach my target. We both set off with Anna and Andy. The Dublin crowds loved us, and we ladies basked in the reflected glory of walking with the man with squeaky bobble hat boobs and a tutu. Well, who wouldn't! He and Suzie even made the paper the next day (not with the picture below though!)!

The route was lovely, and the walk through and around Phoenix park was gorgeous in the sunshine - my bra was on display the whole time, and remained intact.

Around halfway, it was clear Tricia was too quick for me, and the band of 4 split up for a while. Gradually, and powered by the many jellies offered en route and a couple of cups of Lucozade (tip, if you squeeze the cup a bit you can drink it while walking and not spill it down your cleavage), and all the shouts of "fair play to yez Emma" (Jen had done a great job with the marker pen) I clawed my way back to Anna. We powered on, keeping check of our time, and it looked like the magical sub-6 was within our reach.

We neared the Finish Line. "One kilometre left" shouted one marshal. "One mile left" shouted another. "which is it?" we pleaded! As the end was in sight, and without looking at each other or saying a word, Anna and I broke into something that was definitely not a run, or even a jog, it was a kind of bouncy loping movement. And, like that, we were over the line. 5:55:55! A time I will always remember!

Goodie bags collected, we found our way back to the hotel and recovered for the well earned fizz in the bar and celebrations with our amazing team. So many goals and personal bests were conquered that day, and everybody loved what everybody else had done. And everyone could still walk!

Dublin medal winners

We were very happy to take our party into the hotel restaurant for possibly the best steak frites I have ever tasted (except Margaret and her family who somehow found the energy to go on a literary pub crawl).

Then it was Monday, and home we went, sad to leave our WTW bubble. I loved my first daytime marathon, and it certainly won't be my last. There are so many other challenges I want to do... Thames Path and Disney are currently top of the list! I've come home having cemented friendships I'd already made and having made new ones. Thank you Walk the Walk for being the brilliant people you are, and attracting such lovely walkers to raise money for you.

Emma

Inspired to join our Walk the Walk team in 2018... join us now!  

 

 

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