Kirsty’s blog: These Boots Are Made for Walking
Hear from our family ambassador Kirsty Murray through our regular blog series as she prepares to take on our Great Wall of China Trek! #AcornsChinaTrek
When I first signed up for this trip it wasn’t the fundraising target that daunted me, Acorns is such a fantastic charity and people are so keen to donate, it was the trekking that scared me. I have always quite liked walking but it has always been with a purpose such as going for a short walk and ending up in a nice pub garden for a cold drink and a bite to eat, but I somehow don’t think there will be places to stop for a refreshing glass of Pimms along the Great Wall.
So I wanted to make sure that I started my training early. I didn’t want to be the one out of breath at the back holding everyone up. Juggling full time work, having a young child, fundraising and trying to fit in training has been a bit of a struggle. I started off by making sure I go out for a walk every lunchtime. I am quite lucky that I work in Charlton Kings which is surrounded by hills. I have picked a route which includes a steep hill that I climb twice in my lunch hour which has the equivalent ascent to 1/3 of the length of the Malverns. When I started I set myself little targets like trying to get to the top without stopping and now I can do the whole route without any stops which gives me a mini sense of achievement.
I have since increased the length of my walks at the weekends, making sure they are very challenging and steep. It takes a lot of dedication to make sure I walk for 4+ hours each day at the weekends but I have surprised myself with how much I am enjoying it. I often walk on my own, with just my headphones in and a bottle of water to keep me company. It has really made me appreciate what a lovely part of the world we live in. At times I can go half an hour without seeing another person, road or house but I find it really relaxing and peaceful. Thanks to my boots I haven’t suffered with blisters or aching feet and they were definitely worth spending the time and money on them.
Our first group training walk was on the 9th June in the Malverns. It was so lovely to meet more of the trekkers. We are surprisingly a completely different mix of people, ages, and sizes. Some are current users of Acorns, some are bereaved parents, some have family or friend ties to Acorns, some volunteer at Acorns and amazingly some have no link to them but heard of what they do and what to help fundraise. It was really reassuring that I wasn’t doing this with a bunch of seasoned trekkers who were going to put me to shame and that everyone was so friendly and supportive.
After having some breakfast and doing a little session of getting to know everyone and hearing how everyone was getting on with fundraising we split into two groups and our guides took us on a relatively small (in comparison to China) 5 mile trek. Walking with other people was great! We were able to chat and get to know each other and have a laugh along the way. It made the miles go much quicker and made me realise this trek isn’t a race, we will all be doing it together. People will struggle at different times but having a large group of like minded people around you to spur you on and help is fantastic.
Doing this trip as a group all together is part of what Acorns is about – getting through a difficult time together with people there to support you. I know each one of us will complete the challenge as we are all determined and dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Acorns.
Come on Trekkers – we’ve got this!