Sharon puts best foot forward in Macmillan hike

Can you start by telling us exactly what the Macmillan Mighty Hike Challenge is?

Not everyone wants to or is capable of running a marathon for charity and the Macmillan Mighty Hike caters for that segment of the population that still wants to raise money for a good cause. Macmillan has a number of really well organised 26-mile hikes which take place across different parts of the country. The one that we did took place along the stunning Northumberland coast between Alnwick Castle and Bamburgh Castle. It really is a beautiful part of the world and well worth a visit.

When you say ‘we’ how many of you made the walk?

Two of my cousins had undergone treatment for bowel cancer so we decided to do the Hike as a group of family and close friends. In total there was 12 of us aged between 17 and 54-years old.

What was your training regime?

I thought I prepared for the Hike pretty well. Each week I met my cousin Sally-Ann at a reservoir outside Rugby and we clocked-up a fair-few-miles – sufficient to make me feel reasonably confident going into the walk.

I detect a BUT?

Absolutely! What we couldn’t prepare for is the heat! When we actually did the Hike, the temperatures hit 30 degrees with no wind or breeze whatsoever. I come from the north and I’ve never experienced anything like it! The heat was such that four of the group had to pull out due to sun stroke – it was that bad.

But you finished and succeeded in raising over £7,500 – you must be extremely proud?

I did finish but I have to say it was a real struggle at the end. The money we raised for an important cause that has a strong personal connection, gave context and poignancy to what we achieved as a group. The sponsorship we received from the MERKUR Initiative programme as well as the really kind support from colleagues made a huge difference and was greatly appreciated.

Did you suffer any side effects?

Shortly after I completed the 26-miles and was having a glass of Prosecco I started cramping and generally feeling awful, with no energy which I later found out was heat exhaustion. Thankfully I had arranged to stay at my Mums who looked after me.

Would you do it again?

I have to be honest, there were times during the Hike when the sun was beating down when I thought why didn’t I just do a Macmillan Coffee morning or bake a cake – it would have been so much easier! But it was a great experience, with great company and most importantly we raised not far short of £8,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support which does such a fantastic job helping people who are living with cancer. Would I do it again – absolutely but I’d check the long-term weather forecast first!

For more information on the Macmillan Mighty Hike Challenge: