Walking Events Coming Up in 2016

Ever since we took part in the London 2 Cambridge 100km event last summer we’ve been a bit obsessed with walking over at The Allrounder. Now don’t get us wrong, we still love a good running race or a gym session, but walking has opened up a whole new world of challenges we’d never even thought of doing before.

If you’d have asked us before last August what we thought of walking we might have nodded politely and said “yeah it’s fine, not really fitness though is it?” That was until we spent 24 hours walking through the English countryside; the rain pelting down at us as we looked at the mile markers desperately wanting to give up and get a taxi. Whoever coined the phrase “walk in the park” has never done a long distance trek.

But that was then. Nowadays we’re wise to the world of walking. Our ill-found views towards the fitness benefits of it have long disappeared, now it’s one of our favourite methods of exercise. Not only is it a low impact, a great form of cardio and accessible to people who may not be able to take part in others forms of exercise, it’s also the type of training that manages to cleverly disguise itself in the form of something enjoyable. You can do it in a group and chat for hours as you make your way through the rolling hills; stopping at country pubs along the way or heading towards various landmarks. Alone, you can zone out and listen to your iPod or contemplate the meaning of life in perfect solitude, in a way that is often more difficult when running or cycling (be careful when walking alone though people, it can be dangerous).

Walking long distances can be tricky though. You need to keep hydrated, you need to eat properly and you need to make sure you’re covered in case of any accidents that may occur. That’s why we’ve pulled together our pick of some of the best organised walking events across the UK coming up over the next year. Let us know if you sign up, we’ll probably see you there.

The South Coast Challenge

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Date: 27th/28th August

Distance: 100km, 50km, or 25km

Price: £39 – £69 registration. £150 – £395 fundraising target (depending on distance)

Summary: A new event that will take walkers (and runners) from Eastbourne, up Beachy Head, across white cliffs, through the Seven Sisters Country Park and along the South Downs Way. Some people will make it to the 50k point in Brighton, others will carry on towards Devils Dyke before finishing up in Arundel, hopefully just in time to see the sunrise as the cathedral looms into view.

The challenge is run by the team over at Action Challenge, which means loads of refreshment stops, perfect organisation and a hot meal at the halfway point.

Website

The Ridge Walk

Date: 18th/19th June

Distance: 52 miles, 26 miles, or 13 miles

Price: £25 registration. £200 – £1,400 fundraising target (Sense) – depending on distance and whether you’re a team or going solo

Summary: Following the Ridgeway, a route famous for being used by travellers since prehistoric times, The Ridge Walk takes participants across Oxfordshire and Wiltshire; through downland, secluded valleys and woodland, before finally ending up at the rather impressive Barbury Castle site. All fully supported by marshals, medical staff and a hell of a lot of food and drink.

Website

Trailwalker

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Date: 22nd/24th July

Distance: 100km

Price: £240 team of four registration. £1,400 fundraising target (Oxfam and The Gurkha Welfare Trust)

Summary: Set up by the legendary Gurkhas, Trailwalker follows a similar route to the South Downs challenge. Participants start off at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park and make their way across the countryside before finally ending up at Brighton Racecourse. The theme of the challenge is teamwork and you’ll need a support crew who’ll meet you at checkpoints along the route and provide supplies and encouragement, you know, to carry all your stuff and feed you.

Website

The Plod Midnight Trek – Mourne Mountains

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Date: 18th June

Distance: 50km

Price: £150 team registration. £1,200 fundraising target (Action medical research for children)

Summary: You’ll need to nip across the sea for this pretty taxing 50km nighttime walk. Taking place amongst the highest mountain range in  Northern Ireland, the Plod Midnight Trek is meant to be a real challenge. A cold, muddy, difficult hike made all the more difficult due to the fact it’ll be mostly dark whilst you’re doing it.

Website

Thames Path Challenge

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Date: 10th/11th September

Distance: 100km, 50km, or 25km

Price: £39 – £69 registration. £150 – £395 fundraising target (depending on distance)

Summary: Another event from the Action Challenge team, and one that’s perfect for anyone new to the world of long distance walking. Firstly it starts in Putney, which, for any Londoners, makes it a pretty easy place to head to in the morning. Secondly it follows the Thames as it winds its way over to Henley, which means it’s pretty flat throughout (some of the other ones have quite a few hills. Trust us, after twenty hours of walking, you’ll start to notice hills).

Website

The Co-op Snowdon Trek

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Date: 25th June

Distance: 10 Miles

Price: £10 team registration. £100 fundraising target (British Red Cross)

Summary: A shorter distance event than the others in the list, so a nice one for anyone not too keen on the idea of a jumping in at the deep end. The route follows the famous Llanberis Trail in Snowdonia, which is one of least steep routes up the mountain. With 6-8 hours of trekking and 3,500 feet of altitude it should be enough of a challenge for anyone and you’ll end up with some pretty impressive pictures afterwards.

Website

Do It Yourself

Of course, you could always just go walking yourself if you wanted to. It just means that you have to put a lot more planning in. All of the events here are organised by professionals who know the areas. Walking sounds easy until you get lost in the middle of the desolate countryside with nothing more than a bottle of water and sprained ankle. Especially when you can’t get a phone signal.

If you are planning on heading out for your own walking challenge then take the necessary safety precautions and do it as part of a group. There are loads of websites that you can use to help organise it as well as ensure that you’re doing everything you can to me safe. Walkingbritain.co.uk and Ramblers.org.uk are both pretty good.

Picture Credits: Pond5, Action Challenge, The Ridge Walk, Trailwalker, The Plod Midnight Trek, Google Maps