My first event of the year was the Y-Care Walk Race held on the 30th January. In 2019, I chose the 30km distance, in 2020, the 15km route but this year I felt brave enough again for 30km! We arrived at Serene View Gardens in Oodi around 05:45 and found all our friends were already there and warming up. As per the safety protocols, we had our temperatures checked, our hands sanitised and our names written in the special register. Only 50 walkers were allowed on the trail and during the warm up, everyone was widely spread out and wearing masks. The “new normal” was plain to see. After some brief remarks by the organising team, we set off. I thought I’d try something a little different and use FIVE quotes I feel best describe the walk.
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous” – Aristotle
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is just how pretty the countryside is. We’ve had a lot of rain the last few weeks and what struck me was how beautifully green everything was even against the backdrop of grey skies. I think living in a relatively dry country makes one appreciate just how rain injects life into our surroundings. There were a few colourful wildflowers dotted around the landscape and some lonely yellow sunflowers scattered around a cornfield.
There were several termite hills and white wild mushrooms growing in some of the grassy areas. We found some lazy goats lying on a road and at different points of our walk, cattle with some calves walked and grazed slowly, looking at us intensely with their big brown eyes.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt” – John Muir
There was no escaping dirt on this walk! The rain over the last few days meant there were several muddy sections and we actually had fun navigating them. One section thankfully had a fence neatly positioned next to the muddy pool of water which greatly helped us!
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I love this quote because it really fits with the time we are in. There are days I’ve been quite overwhelmed by our current situation. Botswana has had relatively low Covid-19 infections and fatalities compared to other countries but after the festive season, we’ve had a marked increase in numbers. The numbers are no longer just “numbers” but people we know. Throw in the added reality that we are headed for some extremely tough economic times as a country which is already showing in company closures, job losses and increased stress levels. And on a daily basis, you never know what you’re going to face. Just last week my son had to be tested because he had been in contact with a playmate who was positive. Thankfully, he was okay but all of a sudden things turned upside down with me having to balance work deadlines with home-schooling. But what I’ve found works is accepting the situation and paving a path that is within my control – let it rain. On the walk, when it started raining around 13km, we simply grabbed our raincoats and marched on, without skipping a beat. Life must always go on.
“Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow” – Henry David Thoreau
I started the walk with Sanne and Elisa and we chatted up a storm for around 9km discussing everything from parenting to work to life in general. Working from home, not socialising much and running solo has limited deep discussions with friends. It felt good to chat and discuss our worries in a safe environment. We connected different issues and it felt amazing to let it all out.
When Sanne left us around 9km to follow another route, Elisa and I continued our discussions and after six hours of walking, we’d had several more a-ha! moments.
“Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise” – Carrie Latet
I think as runners we sometimes underrate the value of walking. But whenever I walk, I’m reminded of two things – firstly, walkers are incredibly strong. The group ahead of us finished 40 minutes before we crossed the Finish Line and it wasn’t as if we were strolling! Secondly, walking always exposes my weaker areas. Regular brisk walking according to this article helps to strengthen our bones and muscles and improve our balance and coordination, not to mention all the mental health benefits. Being out there felt so peaceful and although our legs were very heavy at the end, I think I speak for many when I say our minds certainly felt lighter.
Thank you so much to the Y Care Charitable Trust for organising another great event and giving us a little bit of normal at such an abnormal time. We felt safe and supported at all times, with a marshal always behind us and there were a number of stops with water, energy drinks and fruits on offer. I say this every year but this is such a worthwhile event for both walkers and runners.
And of course, the bling didn’t disappoint! I would have done this walk without a medal, but the joy of finally having a #MedalMonday to share – PRICELESS!
Do you incorporate walking as part of your fitness routine? Have you earned your first medal of the year? Have you heard any of these quotes before? Let me know in the comments!
I’m joining a brand new link up, FIT FIVE FRIDAY with FIVE amazing hosts – Run Laugh Eat Pie, My First 5K and More, Running With Attitude, Zenaida and Runs With Pugs. Be sure to check out what they have to say this Friday!