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19 Mile Training walk for Woodlarks, another disaster: poor Lucian Miers

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 23 June 2018

In the build up to my 32 mile charity walk for Woodlarks on July 28, I planned to build on last week’s 15 miler stroll with 19 miles and it all started so well. My pal Lucian Miers drove over from Winchester first thing and at 8 AM we started walking from just near Bristol Temple Meads. According to my calculations the Bath Bristol Railway path was 13 miles and Bath to the Hop Pole Inn on the other side was 6 miles largely along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Things started well. We talked about a wide range of things including the retirement of Lucian from squash aged 56. He had drawn a woman called Beverley aged 76 in the local ladder and felt that surely he could get a much needed confidence boosting win. Beverley pitched up and was, in fact, a chap. But still Lucian reckoned that the 20 year age gap would be enough. The match lasted less than 30 minutes with a predictable result. Lucian has retired. We laughed and chatted.

We made good time and allowed ourselves a stop after about eight miles for a cup of tea. Lucian had a bacon bun and I removed some insoles I had bought to avoid blisters but which were causing me real pain. I don’t think I really recovered from that pain. But we cracked on reaching Bath after about five hours. 13 miles had somehow become fifteen according to the signposts and Lucian’s GPS tracker.

We headed through the back streets of Bath and by the time we were on the Canal we were somehow at seventeen. My water was running out, my feet were hurting, Lucian says his back was hurting and his GPS said we had another seven miles to go.

The Mrs and Lucian’s god son Joshua waited patiently for us. We finally arrived two hours behind schedule. 19 miles had become 24 and for the last few  miles we were struggling, myself more than Lucian. There was some amazing Victorian architecture along the way, notably a wonderful aqueduct and as or nature we caught full sight of what was, I think, a carp. As we peered at it we caught our breath.

At the Hop Tree Inn I collapsed on the grass. Joshua helped me remove my boots and socks, I could hardly move. I feel eve r more stiff. But I made it. If I can do 24 miles and struggle this week, next weekend I target 26 and struggling less.  That 32 miles is in reach.

Poor Lucian did not sign up for 24 miles of pain and he now drives back to Winchester and must be I agony. For me bed beckons. As you contemplate our pain please consider the video below, the great cause that is Woodlarks. Consider our pain again and please donate a tenner here.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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