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WLR Members Complete Playtex Moonwalk

by Helen Johnson - User ID: HDJ999

On Saturday 19th May 2007 15,000 women, 1,000 men and nearly 2,000 volunteers came together in Hyde Park for the 10th Playtex Moonwalk.

This is an annual event involving a sponsored powerwalk around London for 26.2 miles (Full moon) or 13.1 miles (half moon) overnight wearing a decorated bra.

Amongst this band were at least 10 WLR members who were walking, 1 previous member volunteering and a couple of spouses both volunteering and walking.

WLR Playtex Moonwalkers
L-R Lawranlm, Hdj999, Helenjane

The Playtex Moonwalk is organised annually by Walk The Walk, a grant giving charity which funds breast cancer research.

Breast cancer now affects 1 in 9 women in this country and still kills thousands every year, although advances in treatment now mean that many more women are cured than ever before. It is not just a women's problem either as men also die of this disease. There were many relatives of people who had died from breast cancer taking part as well as many sufferers themselves.

The night started in Playtex City - a huge pink tent which was erected in Hyde Park. Inside there was a hot meal for the walkers, plenty of water, plenty of toilets and lots of opportunities to spend some money, whether on a Moonwalk T-shirt, a massage or a temporary tattoo with proceeds going to the charity. Entertainment was provided, followed by an aerobic warm-up session which apparently broke the world record for the most people involved in an aerobics session in one place! Then the countdown began.

At 11pm the orange start went off, followed at 15 minute intervals by the greens, the yellows and then the pinks.

I was in the green start and ended up near the back of it crossing the line at 11:20 pm. The night was cool but not too cold and once I got walking I was comfortable temperature wise in my decorated bra. The atmosphere was brilliant and we got quite a reaction from the bemused passersby.

The route was very good taking in the Thames, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Big Ben, the Albert Hall, the Albert Memorial, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and many other landmarks.

The two routes stayed together for about 10 miles adding to the party atmosphere, then those doing the half-marathon peeled off, leaving the "full-mooners" to carry on.

The atmosphere changed after this and became quieter and more reflective, partly because there were fewer walkers and they were more strung out, and partly because the route moved into quieter, more residential areas and as time went on there were fewer people about on the streets. It was quite a surprise therefore to go past Battersea Dogs Home and hear a cacophony of barking!

Everyone's experience of the Moonwalk is different. I set off very fast with a target in my mind of less than six hours and am very pleased to have completed it in 5hrs 47 minutes, however, it is not a race and time to complete is not important. Everyone who crosses the finish line is an achiever, whether they took 4 hours or 14.

The support from other walkers along the way is phenomenal, indeed at 22 miles I nearly ended up withdrawing, only help and support from a fellow walker ensured that I finished. I hadn't realised that the temperature had dropped and that I was getting very, very cold, at that point my mind wasn't working clearly and I felt very strange. Fortunately another walker I had been walking with realised what was happening and made me put my jacket on - after that I was fine to finish. I would recommend doing the Moonwalk to anyone, but it shouldn't be undertaken lightly. It is a full marathon distance in the dark and cold at a time when your body is saying you should be asleep.

Training beforehand is essential and to anybody who says it's "just a walk", I suggest replying that they see how they feel after they've done it for themselves.

 

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