I never thought I’d see a snake of women dressed in pink with flashing bunny ears marching up Fishergate Hill towards the city centre at 1am on a Sunday morning. Judging by the reactions of some befuddled onlookers, neither did they! Last night, Saturday 5th June, we joined the 2,000 women walking a half marathon around the city to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice. So did we complete the Moonlight Walk with feet and legs intact?Advertisement
Thirteen miles sure sounds like a long way and as the night of the Moonlight Walk approached a little apprehension set in. Could I complete the circuit without blisters, cramp or pain? In fact could I walk thirteen miles with just pit stops for the loo and water?
Thankfully my walking partner, Gayle, had completed the course last year and reassured me. We arrived to register at Lancashire Constabulary HQ just before 11.30pm. We were met by a sea of pink flashing deely boppers, marabou trimmed stetsons and an all round good feeling. After a five minutes warm up and health and safety briefing we set off.
The route started from Police HQ and took us down Liverpool Road, through Penwortham and up Fishergate Hill. As soon as we started we were guided by the wonderful volunteers. 170 people volunteered to help steward, serve food, register people and keep everyone safe. They were fantastic, willing everyone on when the walk got tough, guiding you on when you felt a bit disorientated and generally keeping spirits up and everyone moving.
From Liverpool Road we walked up Fishergate Hill and into Preston City Centre, one of the highlights for me as I love being sober and watching the comedy of drunken nights out. People can be so surreal when they’ve had a few ales, eh? But there was no time to stop, we marched on past MacDonalds and up the Ringway. We were heading for London Road. As we walked down London Road towards the River Ribble it became noticably colder, cloaked in mist we headed for our first pit stop at the Capitol Centre for hot drinks and toilets. Pit stops were every two or three miles, providing toilets, water, hot drinks, first aid and later fruit. Much needed and thanks again to all the volunteers!
Marching on we took in an area I’m not too familiar with, South Ribble. From Walton le Dale we walked up Cinnamon Hill into Bamber Bridge. This is why walking is so wonderful, discovering places you have never been and being able to have a good nosey around. Not that we could see much, it was dark and misty and we were still catching up on the gossip.
From Bamber Bridge we walked onto Lostock Hall and into the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice, where we stopped gassing to respect the requirement for absolute silence. It was a good reminder why we were doing the Moonlight Walk, everyone has their own reasons for doing the Moonlight Walk and many people doing it have been affected or indirectly affected by the horrible disease that is cancer. Most of St Catherine’s Hospice patients are suffering from some form of cancer but they also help people with Motor Neurone Disease, advanced Multiple Sclerosis and other life threatening diseases. Last year £337,000 was raised by ladies completing the Moonlight Walk. Before the race Barbara Conroy Head of Fundraising at St Catherine’s told me, “It costs over £4 million to run the Hospice each year of which £3 million has to raised through fundraising and events.”
St Catherine’s Hospice provide palliative care for the people of Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and Longridge. They do wonderful work not only at the Hospice but in people’s homes.
Fuelled by a fruit pit stop and water we marched on turning left into Todd Lane South, guided once again by the fabulous volunteers. Leaving Lostock Hall and walking into the gorgeous countryside surrounding White Stake, one more pit stop and we were into New Longton and just a couple of miles from our destination. The sun was coming up, it was starting to become light and ooh my feet were feeling it!
The volunteers egged us on for the last couple of miles, ’til we were there. The smell of free bacon, sausage and egg butties guiding us to the finish line. We received medals, certificates and a goody bag! The walk took us four and a half hours and we managed to catch up on all the gossip. In fact we were chatting all the way around!
Barbara Conroy said “Everyone involved with St Catherine’s Hospice is so proud of all the ladies taking part and their achievement in completing the half marathon. Also, a big thank you to all our volunteers without whose help we couldn’t do without.”
So well done to you if you took part, hope you’re not feeling it too much today. My feet ache but it was worth it! Well done Gayle & everyone!
Image Credit: Lisa McManus
We walked the Moonlight Walk in memory of Barbara x. Lots of love to you x x