In Jan 2015, I successfully completed the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge along with Team MOTR. As a team, we walked 100kms within 35 hours. This series (Part 1 | Part 2) is a coverage of our walkathon with pictures, learning & tips.
The culmination of 3 months of preparation came up fast. Training
for Oxfam Trailwalker had become a permanent fixture over weekends. Now as the finale approached, it was a blend of excitement & anticipation. And not surprisingly, there was also the “What Next?” feeling.
Roshan started off as our remote support team from Singapore. He had been encouraging us, giving us training tips, contributed to the Oxfam cause …and when the opportunity presented itself, jumped in with his pants rolled up!
Once bitten, twice shy. We had one bad experience of doing a long walk on empty stomachs. It had left us tired & dispirited. This time, we took our tapering & carb loading
very seriously. Dominos, Mast Kalandar and our host Chitra’s kitchen – all contributed on the night before.
Selfie time! Presenting the starting six of Team MOTR
– (L to R) Yashu, Shub, Satya, Ram, Vivek, Roshan. Literally hours before the start, Yashu adopted us into his support fold. And just like that, we had a support team. To think we were planning on doing it without a full fledged support team …
It was a pleasant morning when we finally got going on the d-day. With so many teams there, it took us a whole minute to cross the starting line after the 6:00am official start.
We started with a 100 kms in 24 hours goal. But 30 hours sounded less daunting & a more realistic stretch goal. We settled on the later as our BHAG
The setting of the trail in the initial few kilometers was as idyllic as it could be. I also realized soon enough that posting snaps as we progressed through the trail was going to be impossible – network was slow, signal strength inconsistent & the trail needed more of my attention than I had imagined.
Across the starting point & the various check points, we had hovering drones for company. These devices created quite a buzz with the participants & the local populace alike.
As expected, the sun was one of our biggest obstacles on the trail. Caps, goggles, sunscreen & appropriate hydration were critical equipment that is highly recommended.
The scenery upgraded to include hills & made for pretty picture opportunities. The sun notwithstanding, the spirits continued to be high.
Very soon we got hit by a harsher part of the trail. Stony, rugged, full of ups & down – the ultra flexible running shoes are just not made for this. Such sections (of which there was about 20kms across the trail) warranted better support & protection for the feet. Entry level hiking / trekking shoes would’ve served us better.
The quality of markings along the trail was of the highest order. There were markings to ensure we stayed on the trail, markings to announce distance covered (after every kilometer, no less), special markings to highlight the trail in the dark and markings on rocks, trees, road, electrical poles, etc. Kudos to the pre-event volunteer team on a job fabulously done.
Keeping in mind the issue of sun, we had planned to take a long break at CP3 (after ~30kms / 7 hours from start). What we had not anticipated was the issue of finding a place to rest at the check point. The CP was overflowing with walkers!
Support team to the rescue. Yashu, KK & Sarayu found a quiet corner for us to rest in, prepared the place for us to settle down in, collected our lunches in advance from the CP …. what were we thinking when we planned to go without a support team!! They rolled out the red carpet (literally too), pampered us with support & ensured we spent the down time on rest, recovery & medical attention (where required). If there is only one tip we can give anyone doing the Trailwalker
– get a support team like the one we had. Period.
The trail meandering through agricultural fields, along water canals & the sight of a dam made for a scenic walk just before dusk.
The villages were lined with sericulturists and their tools of trade. Sericulture is the rearing of silkworms for the production of silk. India & China apparently account for 60% of the world silk production, and the region we were walking through produces as much as half of India’s raw silk production.
~ Time For Personal Bests
~ 10 Questions That Questioned Us Into A 100km Walk
~ Progress For Team MOTR