ERUK supporter Simon Osborn walked the length of the Thames Path in April 2017. Here he tells us all about it!
“The challenge was to walk the Thames Path National Trail along the River Thames from the source spring to the finish at the flood barriers in London.
The route was 184 miles long taking 12 days. I was walking the majority of it on my own with just my 25kg ruck sack of essentials apart from 3 days where friends, work colleagues and Jo from ERUK walked stages with me.
Preparation was tough and had started since the start of 2017 where I walked lots of miles cross country as well as joining the local gym for increasing fitness and strength around the muscles of my joints. As one of my epilepsy triggers is extreme exhaustion I wanted to be best prepared as possible.
The walk itself was very tough both physically and mentally. I knew it would be hard but way tougher then I had anticipated. The first few days I hardly saw anyone other than the odd animal sheep river life etc and the river was very hard to follow due to it being dangerous so the path took you away from the river lots. The first day about 2 miles in I fell over and pulled my groin which hampered me for most of the trip slowing me down drastically and as well as the severe pain added hours onto my days as I ended up walking half pace that I had trained for. I also suffered severe blisters on the feet about 16 miles in of day ones 23 mile stint. I had really nice weather which at Temps of 20-25C took its toll with trying to keep hydrated.
Despite all the aches and pains I enjoyed the scenic views of the country side as well as the iconic landmarks in places like Windsor Castle and in around London. Also the closer you got to London it was interesting watching the river evolve from just a field in the country and a ditch to a thriving and really wide river with lots of river traffic in London. Most days I was literally crawling to the hotels at the end of the stages as I am known for being more mixed grills than Bear Grylls :-)
Why Epilepsy Research UK
Ever since 2011 when I first started fundraising for ERUK they are a charity close to my heart as my good friends son was born with severe epilepsy and was having seizures from only a few weeks old. There were times that he was thought not to make his 1st birthday. Even now at 6 years old his epilepsy is not under control but despite this he is a very happy little boy and even after a big seizure he comes around with a big smile and is my little hero. After being diagnosed in 2015 with epilepsy myself this has become more of an incentive to help fund vital research so one day everyone can live seizure free.”
Huge congratulations to Simon for taking on this epic challenge and raising money for our research.