Rita Goes Walking
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
I love that this walk and supporting The Rita Project came out of a conversation with friends earlier this year. Very casually, we decided we were going to walk a marathon and raise awareness whilst we did it. Personally, 2021 has been and continues to be very challenging. This walk gave me a goal to focus on, an event to plan and a physical challenge for my post-surgery body.
It was a cold, miserable January, lockdown 3.0 was just lifting. During the initial training walks, I was mega chuffed at hitting 4 or 5 miles, cautiously testing my body to see how it would respond. Then, finally being able to get out and about with some of the group was an absolute game-changer. I felt like a different human after spending time in beautiful surroundings with awesome people. We were joined by different people each walk and I was excited to show them parts of the route (arguably too excited, luckily my friends humour me). We kept testing sections and redesigning the route so we could make the most of the 26.2 miles. We walked in rain, sunshine, howling wind, through raves, bogs, up killer hills, to vineyards (that was fun) and negotiated paths with many, many cows.
At the same time, people had started to donate money and volunteer for our support crew. I was taken aback by the generosity and willingness to support The Rita Project. After the high profile disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard, we had a spotlight on violence towards women and girls. I have been one of those women, like many women around me and I strive every day to focus my energy on challenging the culture and systems that currently exist allowing these behaviours to continue. Investing in our work with young people is the perfect fit for this event and the funds raised allow me to be flexible with how it is used, rather than needing to adhere to rigid funding criteria. We raised twice the amount we aimed to which means we can offer twice the amount of sessions, Mind-blowing! Thank you again to everyone who donated.
As the event date approached, I was touched by the awesomeness of our support crew. I have a dominant character trait of always taking everything on but these guys literally refused to let me do that. That was a huge learning for me and not having to worry about every single detail was another game-changer. Running a business by myself can get a bit lonely and suddenly, people were taking on tasks. Every single person went over and above what we could have ever expected and the rest stops during our walk were crucial in raising the energy, shifting the mood and motivating us to continue.
The event itself was absolute perfection. We nailed our timings, the vibe was awesome, the weather behaved, we didn’t get lost and we crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces, even after a stinging nettle jungle. Just before the end, I quietly took in the atmosphere, replaying the awesome moments from the last six months and appreciating the whole experience. It has taught me so much about myself, my tribe and that even when things feel impossible, if you keep going, great things will happen.
One last thanks, to everyone. We couldn’t have done it without you.
To get a better idea of what our day looked like, check this out!