Last month Hare and Hounds manager, Lisa Sutcliffe, swapped pints and city lights for an incredible adventure overseas. Raising more than £2600 for the Alzheimer’s society, we caught up with her on her return to find out what it takes to put the you in YOUng’s.
Why the Great wall of China?
I started thinking about turning 40 (before I was even 39) and had been inspired by some other friends, including my sister in Law who ran the London Marathon the year before. I wanted to do something that would challenge me physically & mentally, something I could work towards and something that I would remember forever.
The Great Wall of China had always been on my bucket list, so I started researching charity treks. Alzheimer’s popped up and from there everything seemed to click into place. My Nana currently has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home, my other Grandmother suffered with Dementia before she passed away some years ago.
Knowing that I would be raising money for charity really spurred me on throughout the year of training prior and even whilst I was on ‘the wall’. Fitness has never come easily to me but having an end goal helped me to commit and as my ‘fan’ base of supporters grew, it gave me the extra little push to train that bit harder.
How do you prepare for a trip of a lifetime?
I hired a personal trainer and began training for three, one hour sessions a week. I could only manage about thirty minutes for the first session as I was so unfit but this changed really quickly and I’m so pleased at the level of fitness I’ve built over the year. I didn’t ache once during the trek which is all down to the preparation. I even did a PT session on the morning of the flight out to China, which I thought would help me sleep…turns out I was too excited to sleep!
I added in a few long walks whilst on holiday in Cornwall and around Richmond park to break in my walking boots. Walking on the wall wasn’t the hard part as the pace was very moderate, even slow. It was the constant up and down hill that made it difficult so I’m really pleased my training involved more cardio than walking. Top tip for anyone that is thinking of doing it.
The kit list I was given was very extensive and accurate to what we needed so I had great fun locating all the items. My best bit of kit without question (apart from walking boots) was my backpack and water bladder. I didn’t need to take my pack off every time I needed to drink as the tube was right there in front of me. Invaluable!
What was the highlight of your trip?
So many! The group of people made the trip extra special. The camaraderie, support and help everyone gave each other during the trek was lovely to be part of. Most people were strangers but very quickly friendships formed. Mike had his 78th birthday during the trek, all thirty trekkers sang happy birthday to him like he was part of their own family.
Day 6 completing the trek! Every day to that point had been really tough, amazing but tough. Up at 6.30am, out the door and up on the wall by 8am. Every day would start with a 30/40 minute uphill walk to get onto the section of wall we were walking for that day. The routine of these cold, sleep deprived mornings seemed endless but on day 6, we completed. Everyone felt so proud of themselves and each other, best day ever!
How do we get involved?
Don’t think about it, DO IT! This is by far the best thing I have ever done and the best week of my life, all of my fellow crew members would say the same.
Alzheimer’s host these treks and lots of similar events throughout the year as do many other charities. Pick one that means something to you and go for it. It will be the trip of a lifetime.
What’s next? Anymore adventures on the horizon?
I’m back to my training routine already and thought I’d try something new so have added in a Yoga Class to continue my new relationship with fitness.
I did utter the words ‘Everest Base Camp’ as a potential next adventure so watch this space!
To find out more about Lisa’s adventure pop along to the beautiful Hare and Hounds in East Sheen.