Posted in: Training
On a crisp November day, I found myself immersed in the picturesque landscapes of the South Coast of the UK, journeying 21 miles from Lulworth Cove to Swanage. This trek wasn't just a personal endeavour; it was a poignant contribution to the M4M March – a movement dedicated to raising awareness for men's mental health, championed by the valiant Mo Bros of Movember.
This venture served as my final bout of rigorous training for the year, a vital preparation for my upcoming 1400-mile expedition along the Rio Negro in early 2024. Laden with a 22kg rucksack, I took on the challenge with resilience and determination, completing the trek in a commendable 7.5 hours.
The climbs during this journey were a good test, almost double the challenge I faced in my 30-mile trek back in August. Despite covering fewer miles, the increased elevation added an extra layer of grit to my performance. Yet, as I continued, the coastal beauty and the cause I championed fueled a sense of accomplishment that overshadowed any physical strain.
Looking ahead, my training regimen will feature weekly hill days, each no more than 10 miles, tackling the inclines with a full kit. These sessions, combined with my rowing and functional fitness days, aim to fortify my physical and mental resilience for the demanding Rio Negro expedition.
Among over 350 participants, I proudly stood out as the sole trekker carrying the weight of a fully loaded rucksack. Yet, the real heroes of the day were two young enthusiasts I encountered, embodying a David Goggins approach to physical fitness by lugging a log between them – a display of determination that left a lasting impression.
Organized by the aptly named company, "It's Going to Get Hairy," the event seamlessly blended a serious cause with quintessentially British humour. Checkpoints along the route provided nourishing pit stops, ranging from malt loaf and fresh fruit to electrolytes and, for those with a taste for indulgence, a touch of army humour in the form of beers and whiskey.
The day unfolded under a flawless azure sky, not a cloud in sight, yet the brisk air served as a gentle reminder of the season. The coastal beauty, coupled with the chill in the air, created a perfect backdrop for this meaningful journey.
Of the 350+ participants, a poignant undertone prevailed as they dedicated their efforts in remembrance of Coach Pickles, who had recently passed away. Though I didn't personally know him, the words of the 15 people I spoke to painted a vivid picture of his impact, making him the pinnacle of the event – a true testament to the power of community, camaraderie, and a shared commitment to mental health awareness.