half a million steps in a day

swap walkers

On Saturday 9 June a group of women (recent graduates from the SWAP programme) bravely took on a challenge for Mencap to walk from Crystal Palace to Richmond. 

For nearly 30km, the group walked, limped and staggered their way through Crystal Palace, Norwood, Streatham, Balham, Earlsfield, Wimbledon Park, Putney, Richmond Park and finally across the bridge into Richmond town itself. Take our word for it, it looks a whole lot shorter on a map!

We got off to a flying start.

All walkers gathered in the vast Crystal Palace Sports Centre for a guided warm-up led by an imposingly tall, gangly fitness instructor who looked capable of completing the entire walk in just two giant strides. Our group of 10 warrior women – oh yes, we’ve got this - strode confidently as one out the stadium and directly up the service track reserved for ambulance crew only.  Oops!

follow the arrows

After that brief diversion (always good to be on first-name terms with emergency services) we spotted that there were bright pink arrows directing us through the route. Who knew! Those arrows were to haunt us for many kilometres. Sometimes we loved ‘em - oh good we’re back on track.  Sometimes we loathed ‘em - oh no, not another %$£”!! arrow. Make. It. Stop!

 Photos courtesy of  mencap .

Photos courtesy of mencap.

 Photos courtesy of  mencap .

Photos courtesy of mencap.

back on track

As we walked, the route led us through residential areas and onto greener spaces. Much of the time was spent peering into people’s gardens and daydreaming about vast property portfolios as the houses grew ever bigger. By the time we reached Richmond Park we spotted deer nearby and walked within touching distance of a herd of cows.

how long did it take?

Ah, now that would be telling! We set off in daylight and – scout’s honour - it was still light when we crawled across that finish line, that’s all you need to know. Best bits, worst bits? Worst - the final walk from the finish line to Richmond station for our homebound journey. You could almost hear all our legs universally groaning in protest, “enough, already!” as we tentatively wove a bedraggled path back through the crowds along the high street like drunken sailors. Best bit? The company, without a doubt.

10 women. Half a million shared steps. Oh yes, we’ve got this!

It’s not too late to show your support for Mencap.

Donations: https://www.thebridge-uk.org/ourcharity/

 Photos courtesy of  mencap .

Photos courtesy of mencap.

 Photos courtesy of  mencap .

Photos courtesy of mencap.

GuestThe Bridge