The Day We Walked The South Downs : Trailwalker 2017

Cross 8 Trailwalker Challenge

As the marketing and brand person in the team of Cross 8 I suggested we should write a blog about our walk across the South Downs to raise money for Oxfam and Gurkha Welfare Trust.

So I started….. several times. There are so many things to say, and so many different ways I could approach this.

Firstly, of course it was a walk for Charity supporting the Gurkhas Welfare Trust and Oxfam Trailwalker UK 2017. These charities are important to the team as there are strong military connections and of course we all have a keen interest supporting Oxfam and their amazing work across the Globe.

Then there was the ‘let’s demonstrate what a great team Cross 8’ are ‘angle’. After listening to stories of taking a pink Landrover across Europe and Africa …. Walking across Australia with camels, sleeping rough, protecting camels from other frisky camels, negotiating their way through tricky situations, I had a lot of ground I could cover. Then there is the fleet of vehicles, including an old fire engine which I could mention, even more content. All that and their experience of setting up a management consultancy business, creating a team of great problem solvers with very much a can-do attitude, so much to choose from.

BUT, then there is the Mandy Webb perspective. Tobias called me – it went something like this – “Hi you know you have just done that walk across Costa Rica, how do you fancy being our fourth man on an event we have signed up for.” I think this was 5 weeks before the start date. Me, with my usual positive attitude, said ‘yes, sure, of course, I can do that.” 60 MILES across the South Downs, no sleep, and a stop every 6 miles. Ok, I rationalised this into 10 walks of 6 miles each, yes, of course, I can do that. But one problem, training for Costa Rica I managed to damage my Achilles running up and down Dovers Hill in the Cotswolds. I was put back together again held together by dynamic tape to walk Costa Rica – would my injury hold up? My physio’s view was NO, my close friends and walking team said NO. So rather than let the team down I agreed to start, walking as far as I could to get them off the start line. Again, held together with dynamic tape and willing spirit I started. I knew that at some point during the day I would have to stop. I did stop, at the right time before any further damage. I knew my team was going to face a grueling arduous walk, faced with rain and slippery chalk pathways. Did you ever experience the Hills along the South Downs? I think it is safe to say none of us were particularly prepared for the steep ascents and for me the steep descents with my Achilles on Fire.

Ben had tackled the route before on his mountain bike, so he knew what was coming. (I think the team was pleased he kept it to himself.) Ben, Steve and Tobias carried on, secretly I guess relieved that I had stopped, as my pace can hardly be described as fast.

Whilst the walking team battled the rain and cold. The support team was amazing, turning up with a banquet at every checkpoint providing shelter, hot drinks, and encouragement. The small people (by that I mean the teenagers and young children) were amazing, pitching in to help when we got to each checkpoint and their excitement helped motivate everyone. Oh, and did I mention Ben had a pair of socks for every occasion. (Actually, good foresight and good planning – he even had the socks with separate toes- I now want some.)

I wasn’t there to cross the finish line much to my disappointment, the guys did a great job finishing in 20 hours coming 600th out of 1568 participants. Not bad considering we were against Gurkha Teams, Grenadier Guards, King Troop and people RUNNING …. YES, some ran it.

It was a great experience, an interesting way to get to know new colleagues and a good adventure. We raised just over £1480 for the charity. I am looking forward to our next challenge. Our Just Giving page is still open.