Saturday night was the Leeds Midnight Walk in aid of St Gemma's Hospice, and my little sister Kaila and I took part along with literally thousands of other ladies, in a women - only Midnight Walk in order to raise money for the Hospice which is respite for terminally ill cancer patients.
As the name suggests, the walk starts at midnight, and participants choose which of the two walks they wanted to do, either the 6 or the 12 mile route. Kaila and I had decided that we wanted to walk the 12 mile route in memory of our late Nan (in for a penny!) and we went to register at Headingley Carnegie Stadium at 10pm as instructed, to get our registered walk number :)
As we were there two hours before the start time, once we had all gotten our numbers, we headed over to the 'entertainment room' where they were stalls selling fancy dress items for the walk, raffles, Real Radio, a St Gemma's information stall, a live band, and a lovely lady doing face painting - so of course me and Kaila got in the massive queue to get our faces done!
Kaila went for a white tiger, and I fancied a neon butterfly:
Just before midnight, everyone had to do a warm up, and it involved a room full of women doing the silliest dancing you have ever seen! great fun!
The atmosphere was amazing as we all piled outside ready for the off, and everyone was taking turns getting their photo's next to the start line, so I was pleased to have gotten our picture on the way in!!
Both routes started the same, with everyone walking together (all 1000 of us!) from Headingley Stadium, down Kirkstall Lane, then along Abbey Road as far as Hawksworth Road, where the Six mile walkers turned off. Those of us walking the 12 mile route carried on up New Road Side, past the Esso garage and turned onto Broadway and carried on to the West Park Centre.
West Park Centre marked the half-way point for the 12 mile walkers, and we all checked in for a well deserved (and needed!) hot drink and snack (snickers, mars bars and bananas were on offer :) before turning around and walking all the way back!
Surprisingly, we managed to keep up the same pace on the way back, and actually hit our (personal) target, and completed the 12 mile walk in four hours :)
When we arrived back at the stadium, we were greeted with a medal and certificate for completing the walk!
Each walker also received a goodie bag (containing a floral cup (!?) a cinnamon swirl pastry, sweeties, panda pops bottled water, Real Radio sticker, and lots of lovely bits and bobs :)
When I called a taxi to come and collect us to take us home, I was told there were non available for at least 50-60 mins, so after a sit down, a coffee and our breakfast pastry, Kaila and I decided to walk home, resulting in us walking an extra mile, taking the total to 13 miles in a few hours!
Kaila and I are still collecting sponsors, so will let u know the grand total once we have collected and totalled it all up (although if anyone still wishes to donate, please let me know!)
We had great fun, everyone (including the fantastic walk guides, volunteers, and staff, who were all amazing, offering encouragement every step of the way) were in great spirits, and Kaila and I were really proud to be raising money for such a great cause, and we hope to do it all again next year!