My 30 something niece Sam was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last year and when I saw that MS have an annual fundraiser to raise money for research I decided that I would jump onboard to show my support for Sam. Fundraising is not something new to me. As a member of Lions International I have been involved in countless fundraising events. Mostly in an organising capacity though, not as a participant.
The idea of the MS May 50km Challenge was to walk, run or ride 50km during the month of May, garner support through sponsorship and raise money for MS Research. 50km over a month is less than 2km per day so I wanted to push myself a bit more than that. Whilst I walk every day, I do not “go for a walk” everyday so I did a few “practice” days during April to see what amount would challenge me but also be achievable before committing. I chose 180km because that was the distance from Bundaberg Qld (where I was staying for the month) to Gladstone, the next major town north. It is also the exact same distance from Collie (WA) to Perth. Average 5.8km per day.
I was staying in an estate at Innes Park, a coastal suburb from Bundaberg and 3.8km from the beach. Most days I walked around the streets of the estate and other days I walked into Innes Park, Coral Cove or Bargara. Once I got into the rhythm of walking every morning I enjoyed it immensely but some days I probably pushed a little too far. Having worn thongs for 99.9% of the past 15 months, my feet didn’t really enjoy being so cramped up in $19 joggers and protested by forming blisters. Eventually on day 27 I succumbed to the pain and “gave up”.
I pushed through the pain barrier on many days and the most I walked on a given day was 21km. I had a couple of zero days when it was wet but mostly I did between 8 and 12km each day. My target of 180km was reached just past the midway point of the month so I then thought I would try to reach 300km. I fell short at 278km or just under 9km per day average. Not too shabby for a 60 year old unfit bloke.
The main aim of the MS May 50km Challenge of course is to raise money for research. When I decided to participate I set a goal of $540 ($3 per km). Friends and family generously rallied to the cause and I soon passed my target. In the end we raised a total of $1002. Thank you so much to every one who donated. Collectively MS May 50km Challenge raised around $6 million for research. A great effort and probably Covid19 had a positive impact on the total as exercise and walking were one of the few activities that we were allowed to do during lockdown.
The Challenge made me realize that I need to do a walk every single day so my ongoing commitment will be to not just to walk but to “go for a walk” of an hour – 5 to 6 km – every day.