WMG Charity Trek: The Peak District Trekfest

When Trekfest was first mentioned there were a few that thought it was a crazy idea, others that gave it some thought and some that even considered taking on the 54 mile option!

We offered the opportunity to take part companywide and 15 people decided to take up the incredible challenge of 27 miles trekking through the steep hills and deep valleys of the Peak District. We were on, deposits were paid and it was time to start training.

As a company we had not done anything as adventuresome as this before. Previous group events had included fun charity fundraising days within the office painting faces and baking cakes- not pushing our bodies to the limit!

The weeks went by and the sponsorship increased. Our chosen charity was Martin House Children’s Hospice and Addisons was selected as a secondary charity, making it an even bigger challenge.

As the big trek got closer and closer training increased and some people started to worry (it transpired post trek that more training could possibly have been done!) As time went by the numbers started dwindling down with the last person dropping out at the eleventh hour!

There was talk of what equipment we should take, what we would be wearing and new walking shoes were bought that had not been worn (a rookie mistake). People fretted about how many blister plasters to take, and more importantly what food to pack and after hours of discussions, we were all as prepared as we were going to be.

Finally, Trekfest day came and there was a grand number of 6 brave hikers taking part in the end…so many injuries, so many excuses!!!

The team arrived at the Peak District in plenty of time to psyche themselves up for the big event.

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It turns out we were over prepared with our packed lunches as breakfast was a free big fry up and there was free food all around the course at different checkpoints.

Then we were off, enthusiastic as ever, ready to take on the next 12 hours! Joy!

Luckily it was a lovely day to be outside in the countryside as it stayed dry and clear all day.

We walked a few miles, then came to our first big ‘hill’ and we were off digging in. The map (or so we thought) showed this would be the biggest ascent, so up we went, digging deep, but still feeling optimistic. At the top were the stunning views we were waiting for which made it well worth the effort.

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We continued over the peaks and were greeted by yet another giant hill which was not part of the plan. So off we went again, struggling up the hill and cursing the map with all the breath we had left! Again we were greeted with even more breath-taking views, and a well-earned break (also known as a sock and plaster change).

After a few more miles we then had to descend which after all the hill climbing seemed like it would be easy. Turns out we were wrong, it was tough. 4 miles of just going down and down, staring at the ground, concentrating hard on where we were going over all the rocks and uneven surfaces.

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At last we reached the bottom and we genuinely discussed getting a taxi (there was a town nearby), or just finishing there and spending the rest of the time celebrating our efforts in the pub as no one would know! We had done 14 miles by then anyway…

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But we’d accepted the challenge and had to continue so off we went. The checkpoint was at 16 miles where there was food and the team were starting to get hungry.

Unknowingly, we had a huge climb to make in order to get there. The team were not happy to say the least. After hearing plenty of curse words, and ‘I’m going to write to Trekfest, misinformation, this wasn’t on the map’, we finally got there a few miles later and lunch was served. So much food was eaten; pasta, meat, baguettes, cakes, and enough snacks to get you through a whole series on Netflix (this on top of all the food we took too!)

Now we had 7 miles to the next checkpoint and then a final 3 to the finish. Socks were changed (which felt amazing) ,new plasters were applied and some people even changed their shoes. This was the only time it was socially acceptable to sort ones feet out applying plasters to sweaty feet whilst tucking into food at the same time!

So off we went on the next 7 miles, up and down over the peaks, with a few milder inclines to tackle. It was pretty clear that by this point there was definitely post food fatigue setting in.

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We eventually reached the last checkpoint, thanks to a lot of motivational talks from team members, and chose not to hang around.

Onwards and upwards we went over lots of rockery which was so painful on the soles of our tired feet. The sun was just starting to set and the time started to divide; some were lagging due to injury, and some were picking up the pace, their desire to get to the finish line stronger than ever!

3 miles to the finish, the cold was coming in and it was getting dark so it was time to get over that final hurdle to the finish line no matter what.

1 mile to go to the line according to the Garmin, we were elated…until we got to the final marshal, who told us it was more like 2 1/2.,…WHAAAAT!!! LIVID!! That meant we had another 45 minutes to go, not 20 minutes; we were not happy. Surely that made it 29 miles!

When we finally passed the finish line, some cried (Elle), some cheered (the rest), and some went to the ambulance due to being the coldest he had ever been with hyperthermia (Will….in a T-shirt!)

All in all it was a fantastic effort by all the team members; a good group who held each other together well, had some good laughs and made plenty of money. Everyone should be very proud of themselves- especially seeing as they didn’t reach the 14 miles per day training guideline which was advised!

With the team raising over £400 for Martin House, and Elle raising over £500 for Addison’s, all in all it was a very worthwhile stroll in the Peaks!

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