WE DID IT!
So this morning at 6am, we arrived back to this wonderful pink confection of a tent in London's Hyde Park after walking for seven hours, and covering 26.3 miles ... and we were still smiling! The Moonwalk rocked right from the minute my train up to London stopped at the first station along the way and a small group of other walkers in pink caps got in. And the same thing happened at the next, and the next, until I was full up with a mixture of nerves and excitement. When I got a taxi to the park, the cabbie told me about a friend of his who had breast cancer and was walking also, and only charged me half fare. Hyde Park was full of women (and some men) wearing the same pink hats, t-shirts with glittery pink bras on them, some wearing tutus, grass skirts, angels, devils, some with bras lit up with fairy lights, bras covered with fruit, ... and the queues were snaking their way towards this breast shaped marquee photographed here. 'Like Jordan's wedding,' someone said. Well, she would certainly have approved of us as we stripped down to our bras!
As we all set off - 15,000 of us with staggered start times - the starter said how proud she was of us, and that seemed to be the theme of the walk. 'You're doing fabulous, girls,' people shouted at us all the time along the route, 'we're so proud of every single one of you.' My friend and I agreed how proud we were to be women there tonight, and how beautiful we all were with our different shapes and ages and fitness levels, and so many of the men walking said how proud they were to be included too. Do I sound gushing? Well, it was a wholly non-cynical evening - non-competitive, ego-free and supportive - and how cool to be walking round London powered only by yourself. And London did us proud too. The rain held off (mostly), the cars passing hooted for us, people came out of pubs and houses to cheer us on, and we even managed to do some high-speed window shopping as we passed through Knightsbridge. One drunken guy came out of a bar straight into the middle of our snake of walkers. The look on his face as he spun from one woman dressed only in her bra, to the next, and then to a guy wearing a bra too made us laugh so hard. I'm guessing he'll wake up this morning wondering if it really happened. We walked over Tower Bridge, past Battersea Power Station, through Chelsea, round the Nine Elms flower market, in front of Buckingham Palace and back to Hyde Park. By the end, I could feel every muscle in my legs, my feet felt I was stepping on glass, and it's been the first time probably since I was a child I've cried tears of pure and utter tiredness, but, boy, did it feel good crossing the finishing line. A really whole-hearted thank you to the organisers, the crew who were just brilliant, organising us and cheering us on although they were probably colder and much more knackered than us, and also, of course, to all the people who sponsored me. It was worth it - in the middle of all the reminders of loss (names and photographs of people who have died commemorated on t-shirts and the sharing of stories about friends and relations on every side), to me what the Moonwalk was most of all was a celebration of, and optimism in, the future. I just wish we could have harnessed some of that power and sent it to Downing Street (where, by the way, we didn't walk).
And my writing prompt for today is ... tired feet!