Marathon runners are worthy recipients of high praise. And rightly so. 26.2 miles is a hell of a long way to run. And you know what? It’s a pretty long distance to walk too.
This weekend, the Moonwalk takes place in London. Fifteen thousand women (and a few men) will take to the streets in their bras and walk 26.2 miles to raise money for breast cancer. I did the Moonwalk six years ago and let me tell you, it was tough. So why was my achievement greeted with such muted praise? Something to the effect of, ‘Oh, but you only walked it? I see, so not really a marathon then?’ What, no admiration? No, ‘Hannah, you’re an inspiration.’
This was no walk in the park (well, technically it was as the walk began and ended in Hyde Park but let’s not quibble over semantics). I took the whole thing very seriously. My friends Debs and I formulated a comprehensive training plan in the weeks leading up to it. And for the event itself, we walked without stopping through the night, finishing the course in a respectable six hours. It was long, grueling and required serious stamina.
Let’s face it. Walking is far less sexy than running. As a friend and fellow Moonwalker pointed out, when you’re walking it, there’s little doubt in your mind that you can complete the course. It might take a while but it’s definitely achievable. And running is an entirely different discipline to walking. Walking is low-impact which means that the lungs have a greater opportunity to provide the much-needed oxygen to your body.
Unlike the London Marathon which takes place in the harsh light of day, the Moonwalk is nocturnal so the whole shrouded-in-darkness thing admittedly did little to help my desire for public adoration for my epic feat. Other than the odd straggler, most of our support came from a handful of drunks after kicking out time at the pubs in Chelsea.
Despite all of these things – the drunk groupies, the low fitspo profile, the dubious bragging rights – it still ranks as one of my greatest physical achievements. And most important of all, I helped to raise lots of money for breast cancer.
So if you’re out and about in London on Saturday night and you see large groups of women pounding the pavements in their bras, it’s probably not a hen night gone awry. Whoop, clap, cheer and high five. They’re Moonwalkers, and it's not as easy as it looks. Show them your support.
A recent Walk the Walk survey found that over 80% of women in the UK worry about getting breast cancer yet less than 20% check themselves once a week.
Even more shocking half of women aged 18-24 admit to not knowing what they’re looking for. Click here for advice about how to check yourself properly.