Laura Barnett

The 100km London 2 Brighton Challenge Weekend

“A tough challenge” we heard… “Through the night” they said… “It gets pretty painful” some murmured…

After a grueling training schedule we were ready to take it on, or so we thought!

At the starting line in Richmond at 08.45am on a sunny bank holiday Saturday the four-strong team were feeling confident, if not a little nervous on taking on this daunting challenge. Not knowing exactly what to expect we headed off through the streets of Richmond at a steady pace, along the Thames with a spring in our step.

The first pit stop came quickly, we were all very jovial at this point and chattering away with like-minded challengers about the lovely weather (so British) and the fact that we weren’t aching yet. Let’s get going again then.

The next stop was at 25km just outside Croydon – there was a Red Cross tent to deal with our little niggles and blisters – no major problems yet, we were just focused on finishing the challenge and enjoying the experience plus ensuring our food and water intake were at the right levels. We set off again through the suburbs into the Surrey countryside.

The next stage was quintessentially British with rolling hills and farms, taking in the scenery and listening to our playlists we were nearly at the 38km mark.

Our team was separated by pace at this stage, Caroline had an injury and sadly had to retire at the 38km pit stop and Tracey had set herself at a faster pace to myself (Laura) and Marie so she powered on and we followed afterwards.

We had some friends and family meeting us at the next stop (58km) so that spurred us on, plus the sun was setting so the cooler conditions made walking more comfortable. At dusk we put our head torches on and the adventure continued…

It was now getting closer to midnight and we’d been walking for over 15 hours through fields, mud and woodland and it was starting to take its toll. The 58km pit stop was dinner and physio time and we were hungry and aching by this point. This was a real eye opener – fellow challengers were dropping like flies – gigantic blisters, hyperthermia and exhaustion meant others were unable to continue. The three remaining team members all met here for a bit of a pep talk and some food and set off into the darkness for the next part of the challenge.

The next 10km seemed like forever and it took Marie and I nearly four long hours. Due to knee and hip injuries we were slowing down and getting pretty uncomfortable.

Sadly at the next stop (68km) two out of the three remaining team members had to retire due to injury, this meant Tracey was out in the Sussex wilderness with no team members remaining.

Last woman standing.

Like the trooper she is, our Account Director Tracey soldiered on with no sleep, aches and pains galore and was faced with more stiles than you can shake a stick at. She completed the 100km course in 31 hours with a glass of champagne and a friendly face waiting for her at the finishing line at Brighton race course.

It was certainly an adventure for all of us, and with nearly 3,000 people taking part in total the challenge was full of highs and lows. The first challenger to pass the finishing line ran the whole 100km in just over 10 hours. Amazing. The final person crossed the finishing line in Brighton in 40 hours.

Most importantly the money we raised for Oxford Children’s Hospital is currently at £2,333 and rising. This is an amazing facility used by children all over the UK. We wanted this to be our chosen charity as family, friends and colleagues have used the hospital and found the support and facilities fantastic. Check out our Just Giving page for more information

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