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Charity trek has helped me to put best foot forward

Readers' letters | Published:

Last May a flier came through the post that changed my life. It was from the Alzheimer’s Society, about their fundraising trek on the Brecon Beacons in September. Normally I put all junk mail straight in the recycling, but this was different and intriguing.

I must sadly admit to being in the ‘getting on a bit’ age group, but living on a farm and owning a dog as I do, I’m reasonably fit, or I thought I was. I reckoned I could do this 13-mile trek, so I signed up and downloaded the training plan, which was fun and easy to follow and by mid summer, I was totally hooked.

The lovely thing about this activity is that it is virtually cost free. My only outlay was a pair of decent walking boots from a local store (don’t buy boots online, you need to try them on first, and I like to support my local shops anyway) and my only technology was my watch and a 40-year-old pocket pedometer.

By late summer, I was walking nine or 10 miles every Sunday, exploring the hills or just timing myself along the lanes. I’d cut out junk carbs from my diet, and stepped up the protein, so I’d have scrambled eggs for breakfast, and lunch of pork, chicken or fish plus masses of veg. This meant that I could just have a huge glass of milk or a piece of cheese and an apple for supper – I never felt hungry.

By the time the big day arrived, I’d lost a stone in weight and was feeling healthier and fitter than I had done for years. But nothing had prepared me for the route – from Brecon to the top of Pen y Fan, then up to the top of Cribyn and (far and away the worst bit) down the other side. This steep downhill slither was a challenge for me, who hates heights but having got up there, I had to come down somehow, so rather inelegantly, and bumping down on my bottom at times, I got there in the end. The long walk back to Brecon was almost relaxing by comparison! Overall, the walk was sheer hell at times, and I was shattered but I made it, and collected my medal at the finish.

That was it, I thought, I’m never going to do that again – until three days later I got an email. We were being timed all the way round and here were my speeds and placings for each section - to my relief, I had beaten over a hundred others home. And the first thing I thought was ‘if I did that again, I could do it in a much better time, get a better placing’.

The next Brecon Trek for the Alzheimer’s Society is on July 4. And I’ll be there, even fitter than I was last year, and aiming to finish in the top 150 at least.

I totally recommend this for anyone wanting to combine losing weight and getting fit with fund raising for a worthwhile cause, it’s a real win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Liz Henderson, Clun

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