The MoonWalk Scotland 2014!

Some lovely comments and images from The MoonWalk Scotland 2014… bring on 2015 which will be our 10th anniversary… woohoo!!!

2014-07-31_0001

Continue reading

Posted in From our walkers, New Moon, Over The Moon, The MoonWalk Scotland | Leave a comment

Going ‘Over the Moon’ – MoonWalk Scotland!

Having been away on holiday since two days after going ‘Over the Moon‘, I have had lots of time to reflect on it all and finally have time to sit down and put my thoughts into words.

2014-07-21_0001

Continue reading

Posted in From our walkers, Over The Moon, The MoonWalk Scotland | Leave a comment

MoonWalk Scotland 2014 – “Superheroes are go.go.go!”

“Superheroes are go.go.go!”

That was the message from Nina in a last email before the big night, along with the news about the severe weather front coming in, and the very sound advice to wear plastic bags over your trainers. After months of training, planning, anticipation the night is here. And so is the rain. Oh my! The rain! Sitting on the train travelling North with dark skies and the rain lashing down we wonder what we are in for, but finally the storm passed to leave a clear dry evening.

We arrive at the greatest pink tent in the world. Preparations begin, costumes transform us to superheroes. After the all-important visit to the forum stand, we get something hot to eat, a neck and shoulder massage, listen to bands, watch dancers, learn about what the money raised is spent on and the resulting improvements in the quality of care for cancer patients. There is an emotional minute’s silence, a hug with the person next to you and the essential warm up routine to get those muscles working. We wait in our start group, clear ponchos are put on over the costumes and everyone rustles expectantly. Outside the tent everything is dark but for giant decorative glowing “moons.”

Countdown. 10, 9, 8….. A horn goes off, camera flashes fire, we cheer and wave and off we go, out into the streets, people on a night out wave and cheer us on. Friendly police officers stop traffic and direct us on our way and we shout out our thanks and offer them jelly babies. The buildings of Edinburgh are lit up resplendent pink, and we reach our first toilet stop at Arthur’s seat (for those who don’t know Edinburgh, this is the first of hil), then up and up we go. There is a sound of gentle chatter, and the rustle of ponchos, but it is eerily quiet, and without any street lights almost totally black, apart from the most beautiful moon shining down on us. We reach the top and see the lights of Edinburgh spread out below. On the paths leading downwards we can see the walkers ahead of us, some people are wearing fairy lights, and they glow like Christmas trees in the darkness, lighting up the way.

Onwards we walk, through what are normally quiet residential streets where people still hang out of their windows in support, or hang bra’s on their hedges. At the 13 mile marker we turn the corner and catch a first glimpse of the sea. It is 3.30am, an hour before sunrise, and I am astonished at how light it is. It feels like a long way to go, but there’s a disco playing music and cheerful volunteers encouraging us on. “Keep walking. You’re doing really well.” We walk along the shoreline and it is so beautiful, quiet and calm, and onwards we walk.

By now I’ve taken off the poncho, fed up with the rustling, and we keep walking. As we walk we admire the costumes of all the other walkers, super heroes of every type; Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Bananaman, lots of sequins and feather boas, and tutus and the all colours of the rainbow.

2014-08-15_0001Just under 4 miles later, at 4.29am the first glimpse of the sun can be seen. Gorgeous! The light on the water is amazing, and I want to stop and take better photos but I know if I do I won’t start again, so walking and clicking, is the only way.

By mile 20 it is a gloriously sunny early morning. My walking partner wasn’t feeling great, we had a few extra stops for stretches and a change of socks. At 6am when I was cheerfully pointing things out, “look at those gorgeous roses”, “here have another jelly baby” she turned to me and said “what’s wrong with you, how can you be so cheerful?” and she’s right, why would anyone enjoy it so much? but I felt so uplifted, we’d nearly finished, I was genuinely happy to be alive, it was warm, sunny, I felt empowered. I never doubted that we’d finished, we had come here to walk a marathon through the night and that is what we were going to do. In truth I was probably on some kind of jelly baby-induced sugar high…………

We skirt around the bottom of Holyrood Park, no need to go back up Arthur (thank goodness!), but as we walk we pass a group of walkers heading out to do it all again. These are the elite walkers, the Over the MoonWalkers, the once round isn’t enough, let’s do it twice walkers. We applaud them and wonder in awe how they are still smiling.

Now the city it is waking up, and people are starting their day as we are finishing our night. Volunteers are at every corner, helping us cross the road safely, passing on words of encouragement, sweets and hugs if required. This event is so incredibly friendly and the support from the volunteers is truly what makes it special. All along the route the many volunteers are cheerful and enthusiastic, an essential part of the night. Always offering a comforting word of encouragement, a smile, advice, we couldn’t do it without them

We reach mile 24 where last year I met Fiona, diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago she supported the MoonWalk for the last few years, standing with her son, and holding up a sign that said “Thank you, from people like me”. The gratitude that she showed with such grace truly touched me, and although I met her only once I won’t ever forget her. Earlier this year Fiona lost her battle, in her absence she was a reminder of the reason we were there. Walk the Walk put up a sign that reading

“Thank you Fiona, from people like us!
Big hugs from all the walk the walkers,
We miss you!”

The sight of this, and of her son on his own this year, with his own sign that read “Thank you from Mum” brings tears to my eyes, and running down my face, and I am grateful for my superhero eye mask so that no-one can tell. Although by now I am stiff and getting tired and ready for a sit down really I had nothing to complain about.

Suddenly the pink tent is in sight, and then finally the finish line and a medal. I may never take it off. I treat myself to a finisher’s t-shirt. After all who wants to be a superhero for just one night?

Tess

 

Posted in Challenges, From our walkers, The MoonWalk Scotland | Leave a comment

Why I did the New Moon MoonWalk, Scotland 2014

My story:

The Edinburgh MoonWalk gave me the opportunity to give something back, to say thank you for the love and compassion that I had received in spades over the last year.

2014-08-18_0001

Continue reading

Posted in From our walkers, New Moon, The MoonWalk Scotland | Leave a comment

Rebekah Rocks The MoonWalk London 2014

London Moonwalk 2014

 

My 8th Moonwalk! Wow! Four years ago when I took part in my first London Moonwalk I did not imagine that I would be at this stage, ever! What an adventure!

 

I arrived in London on Saturday evening and immediately began attracting ‘the looks’ – I suspect the Leopard Print Bunny ears may have had something to do with it mind! All round Kings Cross Station I met people with bra T shirts on and that sort of excited nervous all at the same time look in their eyes. Every where I looked there were Moonwalkers and I knew I was in for the night of my life!

 

Stepping off the train at Clapham Common I encountered a river of pink pouring along the platform and up the stairs and, despite not having a clue where I was going I located Moonwalk City suprisingly quickly by taking my usual stance of following someone in a pink hat! I’ve always found it works! Arriving at the entrance to the tent I encountered my first set of volunteers who had coralled the excited walkers into a very organised snake back and forth across the grass. They were smiley and happy and set the tone for the volunteers I met all night. In the queue I chatted to a lady I had met through WTW and we quite enjoyed the sight of people hurtling after their runaway hats!

 

We got in quickly and I had the opportunity for the first ‘Squeee’ of the night as I spotted two friends from the 3LC of 2012 resplendent in the dayglow yellow. Much hugging followed. And excited squealing. And more hugging. Gosh but I miss those girlies!

 

As I walked across the site I could not help but be in bewildered awe at the Big Pink Tent. To think how quickly a small part of London becomes such a buzzing place just fills me with huge respect for the team at WTW. People who go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we, the walkers, have the best time ever.

 

One of the benefits of my Moonwalking has been the number of friends I have made. People I keep in touch with through the power of social media. People I see rarely. People I miss. My first task whenever I enter the tent is to head for the Talk the Talk stand and it was no different this year. I spent a good few minutes hugging and laughing and squeeeeeing as I met more and more of them. Some were walking and some were volunteering. People worth knowing. People who care and understand what it takes to make a Moonwalk work.

 

As ever the silence filled me with respect for Nina. 16, 000 people and she has them silent in a moment! I love that minute. I love sharing that power with friends and strangers. I love the bonkersness that follows as everyone tries to work out who to hug!

 

I must admit that I did get a teeny bit impatient over the delayed start. I was, after all, cold and tired and I just wanted to get underway. But, I know and trust the team and I knew that any delay would be for a good reason – such as ensuring walker safety or a directive from the police – so I half heartedly joined in with Roy – I just can’t follow his warm ups! Too much like rubbing my tummy and patting my head! I do the feet OR the arms but not both! Personally I don’t understand why so many people choose to try and sneak in with the early start. There are 16,000 of us! We can’t all go first! Sure, I’d like a clear road and fewer loo queues too but I’m not fast so I choose the slowest option because that’s what you do. Honesty is important to me. I’d love to do a sub 8 Moonwalk but I long ago realised that London isn’t about a PB. London is about something else. London is about digging deep and battling the demons.

 

As the pink start was called I donned the oh so attractive plastic mac thingy and buckled up my bum bag around it the way Nina advises. She’s right. She knows what she’s talking about! It does keep you warm. I will admit that when I crossed the line to go out my hoody was on but it was open so my bra was on show. I spent hours on the damn thing, finishing it on the train down, of course it was going to be on show! By mile 3 the hoody was off and my bra was out there under the plastic thingy for the rest of the night. Yes, it was cold, yes it was windy and yes my bunny ears nearly ended up in the Thames but by golly my bra was out there!

 

I’m not going to tell you I loved every minute of the walk because that would be a massive lie! I loved the route! I actually saw the landmarks this year! Especially that blooming London Eye. Everywhere I looked I saw the enormous blue hamster wheel. I began to think it was haunting me! Yes, there were bottle necks – march on the spot and make like a penguin huddled in the middle. Yes, we sometimes waited ages to cross the road – I’d rather wait than be flattened by a car or a bus. Yes, it was crowded. Of course it is crowded. There are 16,000 bonkers people walking round London and the pavements don’t have an expanding facility. The crowds kept me warm!

 

As ever the volunteers made the walk for me. Stand out moments are the wonderfully bonkers cycle marshall who was helping out at one of the crossings, dancing away, massive grin on her face, as she did her best to stop people getting flattened on the road and the lady at some point who spotted me in tears and offered me a hug. Best hug ever. The kindness of strangers. I think I started crying at mile 6. I started thinking about giving up at mile 7. I fell over my own feet at about mile 8 and hurt my back. I was scooped up and a lady walked with me a little way until she was sure I was OK. I tried to think of reasons to give up. I came up with hip pain, sore feet and an aching back. But I knew my friend Gill was out in a bra car and I knew she’d tell me to man up, stop being a big girly wuss and just get on with it. I knew my cousin Lucy, the reason I walk, was coming to see me home. I knew that other friends were volunteers on the finish line and that I had hugs waiting. I knew my sponsors wanted me to finish. And so, I dug deep, pulled up my big girl pants, adjusted my bunny ears and decided to walk just one more mile. And then I walked a few more. I sipped my water little and often and so didn’t need the loo, which was good because I suspect if I had sat down I might have stayed sitting down and other people would have needed the loo. The loo queues were another example of how WTW works. Yes, there were queues. 16,000 people needing the loo… there are going to be queues! But the volunteers had it sorted. At one stop there was a wonderful chap running up and down waving his yellow hat to indicate empty loos while another volunteer sent people to him. Every volunteer I passed gave me a friendly smile and a cheerful greeting. One poor girl I passed was so cold her teeth were chattering but she still told me how well I was doing as she supervised the crossing.

 

Eventually I reached mile 25. I put on the bunny ears and took off the mac. I cross the line in my bra. I’m a Moonwalker. I brushed away the tears. By this point everything hurt. My feet were not speaking to me, my hip was yelling and my fingers felt like sausages and I felt very sorry for myself. But then a group went past me. One girl was being virtually carried by her friends. That gesture of friendship and team work humbled me. It symbolised the spirit of the Moonwalk. True grit, determination and team work. I stumbled the final mile and a bit up that hill and onto the common and there was my cousin waiting. Then into the finish. Nina was there. Seeing us home just like she saw us out. Massive hugs from friends and then my bling. What a night!

 

Will I Moonwalk again? Hell yes! In 4 weeks time actually, when I do Edinbra. Will I do London again? Probably not as a walker because I think it’s time to be a volunteer. To give back in thanks for all the support I’ve had.

 

For me WTW do an amazing job. They get 16,000 people into a tent, feed them, give them water, entertain them, provide them with toilets. Then they send those 16,000 people off round London, keep them safe, stop them being flattened, give them emotional and physical support. Then they see them home. And when those 16,000 people have gone home WTW tidy it all away. And the founder is there until it is all done. Nina, I salute you. Thank you. You rock!

 

 

Posted in From our walkers, The MoonWalk London | Leave a comment