A few weeks ago, my buddy Big G text me and asked if I’d like the opportunity to walk 8 miles with the great Ian Botham. IAN BOTHAM! The man is a legend! I immediately had a flashback to the days I would swoon whilst watching him on Question of Sport, slaying Bill Beaumont with his sporting knowledge and sexy moustache. I did not tell Big G of this crush though, I had to play it cool! I quickly said HELL YES! This was not something anyone in their right mind would turn down. I asked Big G if my mate Abby could come too as it would be a great start to our #cricketgirlsontour season whilst doing something good for charity. He said yes.
8-mile walk. Sounds quite easy doesn’t it? I’m sure it would have been too, but it was not what we had in store. Little did Big G tell Abby and I that we would have a 13-mile run facing us instead. Beefy would be walking his usual 5/6 mph pace (which is bloody fast!) and we would be next to him, randomly jogging and sprinting to members of the public asking for money. I then understood why Big G held this info back – it’s effectively a half-marathon! I train in the gym on average about 3 times a week, but definitely wasn’t prepared. 20 minutes on the cross-trainer does not equate to sprint down Bute Street trying to entice office workers to through coins from their windows into my bucket!
For those who aren’t aware of what this walk is, it’s Beefy Walk 2012. Every year, Beefy walks 150 miles over 10 cities in the UK, raising money for blood cancer charities. He’s been doing it for about 25 years and 2012 was the year I was part of it. Realistically, I should’ve conked out after about 5 miles of running but somehow my adrenaline kicked into overdrive and something inside me enabled my stamina to reach levels I didn’t think were possible! At one point, Abby and I were jogging with Welsh Rugby star Tom Shanklin in-between us offering us jelly babies. A surreal moment I must say! (And what a gent he was too!) I think what kept us going was the reason we were doing it all. Not just to do it with Beefy but to collect as much money as we could for charities that help so many people.
Unfortunately, 10 miles into the 13-mile journey, my legs could run no longer! I wasn’t out of breath or tired, the top half of my body was ready to complete the final leg but my hips, quads and hamstrings were crying out ‘What the hell have you done to us?!!!’ and Abby and I had to get a lift to the finish line. The important thing though was that our job of collecting money was over and between us we had taken about a £1000 that day, maybe even more! Not bad for two cricket gals whose only running adventures involve running for a taxi after a night out! I do think the picture with Wales Rugby Beauty Jamie Roberts at the end of it all made my pain go away pretty quickly! Maybe I should have asked him to use his Doctor skills?
That day I got to meet one of my all-time sporting heroes. I’d seen him briefly one year in Blue Mango Indian Restaurant in Birmingham when I went for a meal with his statistician, but this was up close and personal, and something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
I know that I’m definitely putting my name down for it again next year and am encouraging everyone who reads this to walk with Beefy – It’s an amazing feeling. And what a way to kick off #cricketgirlsontour! If you’re not already, make sure you’re following me (@LilMissAshes) and Abby (@abbyosullivan) on Twitter to see what crazy things we get up to on our tour round the county grounds this year.
If you’d like to know more about Beefy Walk 2012 or would just like to make a donation, go to http://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/get-involved/beefys-great-british-walk-2012-0