Walking for us in the Parish Walk 2014

I moved to the Isle of Man in 1987 from Dublin and am married (41) with two children. My eldest brother, Karel, has consistently been supported by a number of Manx charities throughout the years, including Manx Mencap, the Gateway Games and most especially he gained a huge amount of confidence and self-esteem from his participation Mary-Taitin a number of Special Olympics events throughout the years, winning medals for the Island in Swimming and Floor Hockey and travelling to China, Canada, Holland and Greece, among others.

I started walking to help with weight loss and fitness and decided that 2014 would be the year I carried out my threat to do the Parish Walk, hoping to make it to Peel (32 miles). I decided that to keep up mental discipline for such a long walk I would need to have a strong purpose for doing it and decided that raising money and awareness for Project 21 which supports all the charities which have offered so much assistance and encouragement to my brother and my parents, would be the driving force behind this walk.

I decided that 2014 would be the year I carried out my threat to do the Parish Walk, hoping to make it to Peel (32 miles)

Karel swimming with the Special Olympics

Mary’s brother Karel swimming with the Special Olympics

I started slowly in around June last year, with the encouragement of the Manx Harriers, I joined the Up and Running Winter Walking League in October, completing 4 out of 5 of their 5 kilometer race walks held in different locations around the Island (NSC, Andreas, Ronaldsway). In November I completed the Syd Quirk Half-Marathon Walk (13.1 miles) and last weekend I took part in a really tough (too fast for me) 10K race walk sponsored by the Ascot Hotel (at the NSC) in gale force winds. I am a full-time working mum but am just about managing to get out walking three times a week to train for this event. I recently completed an 8-mile walk from Tynwald Arboretum back to Douglas in under two hours.

In April I am taking part in the Sara Killey 50K Memorial Walk in preparation for the Parish Walk and this will be a real test of endurance. I am hoping to cross the finish line as this would give me a real confidence boost for the Parish Walk. For my training I would ideally like to start working in a 20K circuit every second weekend but as a result of all of my efforts so far, I have lost 5 and a half stone in weight, so am already faster on my feet!

Update 17th April:  I’ve completed the Sara Killey Memorial Walk (50K) in 7hrs 55mins last Sunday.  Being the longest distance I’ve ever walked, I found it far from easy but it gives me some confidence for 21st June.  I learned some valuable tips too which will hopefully leave me better prepared.  Training continues in the meantime!