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Pam's Stewart, Chair of FMA UK completes a marathon

Pam Stewart the chair of FMA UK has always loved walking as a way of keeping fit and getting out and about. Having done a few events in the past its no surprise that she considered doing this event.

Pam said: Well, I thought walking a marathon can’t be that difficult!  The entrance money went towards helping street children and I could raise sponsorship for FMA UK.  It would be a lovely day out walking along the Thames from Windsor to Cookham with a lunch provided.  A new challenge for me.

I did a trial walk last month of about 20 miles and that showed me where the blisters were going to be.  I bought some new heel inserts for my boots and had plasters and Vaseline ready (and some pain killers just in case.)

There was a group of 30 at my start time....

and we were given warm up exercises and some last minute information about the route before we set off.  We crossed the bridge in Windsor and strode along the Thames Path.  The river was calm and the weather just right, warm but overcast.

The opposite bank was lined with very grand houses with sloping gardens down to their private moorings.  We passed through meadows and woodland with a variety of different surfaces of pathway.  When it was stony and uneven it slowed us down but it was all dry. The 10k to Maidstone bridge and our first refreshment point seemed a long way as we had no markers along the route.  At the bridge we crossed to the other side of the river and after a short stretch along the pavement were soon on the riverbank path again.  The locks were busy and there were queues of barges and other boats to get through.

We then had to turn away from the river along a shady wooded footpath to take us into the village of Cookham where there was another refreshment and marshalling point at 16k.  We were directed through the churchyard and then rejoined the Thames.  The next marker was a footbridge where we again had to cross the river.  The path here was very narrow and there were quite a few families out enjoying the river, which meant the going was slow.  The yacht clubs were busy and we had to negotiate boats being launched.  After passing weekend retreats we once again were into open meadowland and the half way point was eagerly anticipated. People were beginning to pass in the other direction having reached the halfway stage.  As I rounded each corner I expected to see the marshals and was looking forward to redressing my feet.  This part seemed to go on for much longer than I expected.

At 21k the refreshment point finally came into sight and names were checked once more.  After stocking up and treating my feet I set off for the return journey and lunch.  The Ferry Inn was providing a buffet lunch with a wide variety of delicious food and comfortable chairs.  We could stretch out and have a relaxing break for a short time.  Having started at 9.00 and it now being 2.00 it was greatly appreciated.  Of course after sitting for a while limbs started to tighten up and it took a little while to get them moving freely again.

All went well for me until about 10k from the finish.  My hip started to be really painful and I had to slow down especially when the path was uneven.  I had run out of water as the refreshment points were not present on the return journey.  I had to ask several people before one of them had spare water so I could take the painkillers I had.  Once these took affect I was off again, not quite as quickly as before.

As I entered the meadow with the stunning view of Windsor Castle in the background I knew I was nearly finished and the last kilometre went by quickly.  I managed to finish in time to get my medal and joined the others stretching their aching limbs and tending their blisters.

The next day my hip was still very stiff and the blisters painful but the stiffness wore off gradually during the day.  As I write this I am reduced to wearing flip flops but luckily the weather is warm so it doesn’t seem too odd.  I feel chuffed that I managed to rise to the challenge and complete the course, but don’t expect me to do it again anytime soon.

Thank you to everyone who donated and made it even more worthwhile.  And big thank you to the team of volunteers who made the whole event possible.

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