Plague Halts Play

How it was supposed to be

My training had been going so well. In the past I’ve been prone to blisters – my brother always said I had “fanny feet” – but that was because, after months of inactivity, I’d walk several 20+ mile days back to back on feet as soft as a Gwyneth Paltrow’s duvet. It wasn’t going to end well.

So, over these last few weeks, I’ve been toughening my feet up gradually, increasing my walking distance every few days. And now was the time to maintain the distance but add the full weight of the backpack too. As an introduction I did a fully loaded 6-mile stroll the other day and the rucksack barely registered. It just felt like I’d put some weight on.

And I have. I like to start each adventure considerably overweight. Well, I don’t, but since my trips usually start in spring, plumpness is what happens over winter. I gain and lose weight very easily. I only have to look at a Bargain Bucket and my waistband button fires off and takes out a pensioner.

My full pack weighs in at about 13 kg. And starting off carrying all this extra fat means that once I lose 13 kg, which I predict will take about 6 weeks, I’m effectively no longer carrying a rucksack at all!

Covid arrives

But now all training has ground to a halt because the plague has descended upon the Prim household. Manx rules mean I need to stay indoors until Day Ten, the day before I’m due to set off walking. Once released, my freedom will be total.

Me and Captain Tom

Some have suggested I use this downtime to rest, which is probably wise. But perhaps instead I can draw inspiration from another famous housebound charity walker, Captain Tom. He did laps of his garden to achieve a mile and half. The longest stretch of garden I have here is about 12 metres. To replicate a 20-mile practice walk I’d have to do a there-and-back circuit over 1,300 times. I expect my mind would crack before my feet.

Speaking of Captain Tom, I’m using him as a metric to calculate how much I can hope to raise for Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) on this walk. His mile and a half netted 30 million pounds. That’s a cool 20 mil per mile. Obviously, I can’t expect to make the same rate as him. After all, he was twice my age, so if I made half as much, that sounds fair. A simple sum tells me that, upon completion of my 25,000 miles, I stand to have raised £250 billion pounds. I think I’d be happy with that.

Granted, that total is more than the GDP of Morocco and Hungary combined, and to raise such a sum would mean every man, woman and child (including newborns) on the planet donating 32 quid each, but, y’know, you’re a generous bunch and MSF really are a very worthy charity.

Anyway, I’d better get back to the garden. I wouldn’t want lack of preparation to be the reason MSF miss out on £250 billion.

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