Towards the end of August of 2014, one of my colleagues suggested we do The Bloody Long Walk. A few others agreed and I also got roped into it.
What is the Bloody Long Walk?
The Bloody Long Walk is a 35 km walk created by the Mito Foundation. Its goal is to raise vital funds to cure Mitochondrial Disease, a debilitating and sometimes fatal genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, causing major organs to dysfunction or fail and can be a fatal disease.
At least one Australian child is born with this debilitating genetic disorder each week. So this is a great cause to get behind to raise money for essential research.
The Bloody Long Walk training
Walking 35 km straight is an incredibly physical challenge.
And I thought I was pretty fit compared to my colleagues. But I was a team player and also did the training.
We started our training in September, aiming to increase the kilometres with each training session.
Since we started, the team has done around 80 kilometres, and I have personally done over 100 kilometres.
We have trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne, Casey Fields in Cranbourne, Peninsula Link around Frankston and walked several parts of the route.
The Bloody Long Walk
Our walk started at the iconic Victoria Park football ground in Abbotsford, follows the main Yarra trail through Yarra Bend Park to Crown Casino, continues down alongside the tram tracks to Port Melbourne, taking us past the iconic Lunar Park in St Kilda, and concluded at North Road Reserve in Brighton.
Another of our colleagues was nice enough to pick me and some others up at the crack of dawn to be there for our start time of 7:40 am. I was expecting to finish around 4 pm, but it later turned out that my calculations were wrong as I was hoping to do it in 7 hours (at 5km/h for 35km), with about 20 minutes allowed for breaks, therefore, should have finished around 3 pm.
There was spectacular scenery throughout the entire walk and it was nice to see some parts of the course we hadn’t already trained at. The first 8 or so kilometres had quite a few steep inclines that we weren’t really expecting. We knew there were some at the start but didn’t realise how many, or how gruelling they would be.
There were checkpoints roughly every 5 kilometres, which had bananas, oranges and water. I took full advantage of the food here as I was rationing the food I bought from home.
We were lucky to have a spare car driving around to meet us at different points with our bags so we didn’t have to carry anything. I had a bum bag with my phone, camera, a protein bar and a water bottle. The car also had an eski with fresh cold water.
I changed my socks at about halfway and was surprised at how much it seemed to help.
I was smart and taped my feet in the morning before I even left the house. A wide piece across my heel because that was where I had been having issues during training. I also put some on the outside of my big and little toes as they rub a little bit sometimes. Finally, I put some across the ball of my foot, right up to the bottom of my toes.
Once we got to the beach at Port Melbourne I knew we only had about 10 kilometres to go. I will admit the last 3 kilometres were the absolute hardest. I found I was walking on my own as we all seemed to be going at a different pace. Although I spent most of the walk at the back of our group I was in the middle for the last stretch. Towards the end, my hips were incredibly sore (my guess is from the bum bag, I had a lot of relief once I took it off), I was trying to keep my breathing steady to avoid a panic attack all while trying not to cry with all the emotions and feelings I was experiencing.
The Finish Line
We crossed the finish line as a team and I was so happy to see my husband waiting for me after all I had been through. When I hugged him at the end and said I was going to kill Tania (the colleague that convinced us all to participate), I was about to cry but managed to turn it into a bit of a laugh. It would have been quite embarrassing if I did cry but I’m sure I would not have been the only one.
I had a very hot bath when I got home and went to bed at about 8 pm. I slept like a baby. I was not as sore as I was expecting the day after, but I was very sunburned. The poor virgin white skin on my legs got an awful beating, especially along the beach with the wind. Hopefully, it calms down soon and isn’t too uncomfortable.
Would I do it again?
The Bloody Long Walk is not something I want to do again. During training I joked that I might do a marathon next, after all, it’s only an additional 7 kilometres. That is certainly a funny joke now.
My recommendations for The Bloody Long Walk
- wear sunscreen and reapply it regularly
- train as much as possible and start training early
- tape your feet
- change your socks halfway
- use these leg day recovery tips afterwards