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Walk the Walk

Walk the Walk began in 1996 with just 13 women power walking their way through the New York City Marathon in their bras to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. This little fundraising stunt has certainly grown over the years and the charity now have raised in excess of £100 million for vital breast cancer causes. A few of our veg HQ superstars joined them this year to keep their energy levels up with organic fruit and fresh water. 

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The Moon Walk, London

The Full Moon Marathon is 26.2 miles and the Half Moon 13.1 plus 2 miles. Our Charlotte kept a little diary of what happened on the night (and the morning too!).

"I arrived at 20:30 (I was super keen) to collect our crew kit and to be briefed by our team leader. There was a tent with hot food and drink, which was perfect as it was pouring outside and around 8 or 9 degrees!

In the tent there was a TV screen streaming live from the big pink tent on Clapham Common that housed the 16,000 walkers. A lot of fun and exciting to watch.

At one moment Nina (the head of the charity and also a sufferer of breast cancer — she has an incredible story) encouraged a minute of silence for people lost and a moment to compose before the 26 mile walk through the night. That was the most powerful thing to witness, when the camera moved over the crowd in complete silence. At the end of the minute everyone hugged the person next to them.

The first walkers set off at around 22:00 (the more athletic ones), with staggered groups leaving every half hour.

We were bundled into a bus at around 22:30 with other volunteers working at check points, helping with safety or cycling teams who were following the front walkers and back walkers. Everyone had walkie talkies, and you can imagine a full bus of chatter and pink dress up got the adrenaline pumping.

We arrived at out checkpoint (mile 17 outside the Royal Albert Hall) and started to set up the 600 kg of bananas and water to hand out. We donated 1.1 tonnes of fruit in total, including apples and oranges at other check points.

It was eerily quiet as the hours ticked on. We didn't see a walker till around 01:00. First it was a slow trickle but when it got to around 04:00 the crowds came thick and fast. I've never seen so many thankful people for  half a banana and bottle of water.

At first we were handing out bananas, but after a while we realised that we would have to turn our backs to grab more and leave a hoard of people waiting. In the end we were holding the boxes out (they were SO heavy), so people could grab them as they walked by.

During the night we were visited by a portable hot food and drink stall (a car with the back seats down to house coffee, tea and sandwiches. I ate so many ploughman’s sarnies and it helped raise spirits so much. 

The sunrise at around 05:30 was beautiful. It was a really quiet morning and the rain had stopped to reveal a blueish sky. I remember taking a picture of the crowds taking a break to eat and drink. I was overwhelmed and humbled by the number of people so determined to walk through the night and finish the 26 mile walk.

By 07:30 London started to come alive and the crowds were thinning. We encouraged every person who passed with motivational 'you can do this' and 'you're doing so well' soundbites over and over. By this point we were exhausted, but there was no way that we would give in to that when we were there to help these women (and men!) get through the night.

As it grew silent our ears were tuned to the sound of the walkie talkie, and the bikers updating us on what mile the last few walkers were at. 07:30 they gave us the news: “They're at mile 15.” Only two miles before they would reach us and we could start packing up.

The team of volunteers we worked with were complete pros. They never wavered. They struck me as strong, determined women coming together. It was extremely humbling.

I finally got a taxi home at 08:30 to Brixton, through Clapham Common (the start and finish) of the walk. I still vividly remember talking about my night to the driver, and explaining to him why a hoard of women and men dressed in bras, pink cowboy hats and pink clothing were on Clapham Common at 08:30 on a Saturday morning. Sweetly, he said that it had made the start of his day.

The walkers celebrated with a glass of fizz and a well-deserved sit down in the sun. We had a great time and are already talking about what more we may be able to do in the future."

Hop to walkthewalk.org to see how you can get involved. 

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