My friend Michaela has just taken part in The Moonwalk in London, which is a marathon (26 mile) walk, through the night, to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. The women (it’s mostly – but not exclusively – women who take part), wear decorated bras and have a fun – if exhausting – time, while generating lots of cash for a good cause.
Michaela sent out a report yesterday to all her sponsors and she’s agreed that I can use it here as a ‘Guest Post’.
You see, I thought it deserved a wider audience. It’s well written by any standards, but Michaela makes no claim to be a ‘writer’ (although I think her poetic and inspiring descriptions of the walk and moving ‘from darkness into light’, show a definite talent!) but – and this is the really impressive bit – she’s German, which means that English (and you’d never guess this from her piece) is not her first language.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. It might inspire a story, you might feel inclined to take part in the Moonwalk yourself next time – and of course, any donations would be very welcome, via the link at the bottom of the page.
Now, it’s over to Michaela:
Went to London last Saturday to do the Moonwalk, my very first marathon that I’d been training for since January. It was an amazing, emotional and mind blowing experience, I have to say. 15 000 women pounding the pavement all for a good cause – breast cancer – was a sight to behold. I met up with my team early evening to have some pasta/rice at a Prezzo outlet and caused mayhem in there as it was buzzing with Moonwalkers who were mostly dressed for the walk already – in their decorated bras which is the trademark of the event. Other diners were craning their necks and I felt for them a bit really, but hey – it’s London and I suppose they’re used to it a bit.
Said goodbye to Rob at around 20.15 at the entrance gate and then we were off to the Pink Tent where we were being entertained by fit men in drag, belting out upbeat songs, which was great fun plus some impressive female singers. An actress from Hollyoaks introduced her latest single as well and then it was over to the celebrities, some of which walked the marathon (or half) as well. Among them were Amanda Mealing (Holby City), Tracey-Ann Oberman (ex-East Enders) , sports commentator Clare Balding, Sarah Cawood and others. Ruby Wax did a comedy routine and then Jennifer Saunders who also got the disease and recently came out the other end said a few words and urged everyone to check themselves. The serious bit was, well, serious and emotional but also full of hope as they can do so much more nowadays. One stall had scalp coolers which you could try. These apparently prevent hair loss when undergoing chemo/radiotherapy which is fantastic.
After the warm up, we were sent off in waves. We started at around 23.40 hrs to the sounds of a samba band. Inside the MoonWalk City, it was like a carnival with people in costumes and a great buzzy atmosphere. Once we started in Hyde Park, it was all incredibly busy and I have to say I’ve never walked or run among 15 000 women (and men, also dressed in bras, which was brilliant) and sharing a fairly narrow pavement is a challenge in itself. Our team, the “Spa Stampede” of 14 soon split up as we had to stop to wait for traffic to clear as the roads were not closed for the event. So everyone scrambled on to the narrow pavement half way across a busy road and then onwards we marched. Sometimes we were almost falling over each other as everyone wanted to keep moving, which made it all the harder.
At 24 ½ miles I saw Rob and went to bits but I carried on until I finished with my mates after 9 hours and 43 mins. Weather stayed dry and the course itself was interesting. Due to the slower pace, I managed to take a few of them in: Battersea power station and Battersea park, London Eye (which was a killer as that was our half way point and the finish of the Half Mooners), Big Ben and Westminster, and then early in the morning we walked past Horseguard Parade and Buckingham Palace. Seeing the sights at night and in to the day was lovely and something I’ll never forget. Support along the road was fantastic: people were shouting and cheering us on, car horns were honking and getting in to the spirit as the clubs and pubs kicked out and we got some mesmerised stares from tourists and Londoners travelling on the buses. It was a great feeling doing a marathon for one and the same cause. Very empowering.
Needless to say, we were all spent afterwards but I still had the energy and taste for some bubbly and later on a lovely meal to celebrate. Somehow this Moonwalk has something poetic or philosophical about it; it’s like literally “Walking through the darkness into the light”. I imagine that this is what it must feel like to hear the bad news and then with the help of science and brilliant people (medics, carers, family and friends) you work your way through this dark tunnel into brighter days. Apologies if this sounds patronising and corny as I have no idea but I do believe that with money raised more and more women can be helped so that they needn’t be scared of this darkness, though it’s a given that I would be, hence I did some fundraising again.
Attached are some pics to give you an idea of the event and also the evidence that I DID DO IT. I WALKED A MARATHON. It’s still sinking in, and I am so chuffed, I can’t express it in words, not even in German.
If you’d like to sponsor Michaela (retrospectively, as it were!) click HERE for the link to her fundraising page – and thank you!