The Communications team at Dementia UK is always up for a challenge – working on multiple projects and turning briefs round to tight deadlines – so three of the team decided to take on the 55k South Coast Challenge.
On August 31st, Digital Marketing Executive Laura, Digital Lead Kylie and Communications Manager Natalie set off from sunny Eastbourne with a pulled hamstring, a knee injury and a sleepless night between them!
Natalie explains: “We have all worked for Dementia UK for at least a year and have personal experience as to how the awful disease impacts families.
“Despite our injuries, we were determined to finish the walk as we raised over £1,500 between us which we know will go towards providing the specialist dementia support that families need.”
Kylie added: “My Grandad, Grandpa and Nan were affected and lived with a form of dementia. I’ve seen first-hand how there isn’t enough support or structure in place to help people with dementia and their families.”
The big day
The day itself proved to be long and certainly posed a number of challenges. With two of us relying on trains to travel there and back (as well as the walk itself) all in one day, we were unable to start as early as we’d have liked to. This meant that we had some distance to make up to avoid finishing after dark. Quickening our pace – plus running down a few of the hills – and shortening the time spent at rest stops really helped reduce our overall time, but meant the walk itself was much more of a test than expected!
Laura said: “The hills were a lot more challenging than I thought, and this obviously slowed down our pace. However, the fact that the route was broken down into 10 or 11k chunks meant that it never felt too long until the next rest, which really helped mentally. We took a little longer at the lunchtime rest stop, changing our socks and filling up on sandwiches and snacks. This really helped get us ready for the remaining 32k – although the last 5k, partly along Brighton seafront, felt like it would never end!”
The team’s top tips
Invest in a pair of shoes – we all chose to wear trail shoes as we could run and walk in them
Never underestimate the importance of decent socks – don’t just wear thick socks, try and get dual skin socks
Practice in your socks and shoes before the big day – this is to see how your feet will fair up
Drink lots of water and eat small and often
Download some funny podcasts and your favourite music to get you up the hills!
South Coast Challenge
Feeling inspired? This series of challenges offers routes from 23-100km, taking in some of England’s finest scenery