About this Event
7.30pm Sunday night, the kids off to bed, the bags packed and the boys ready to hit the road for our first stop-over at the Warwickshire Park Hotel, Kenilworth. The home of Flannery Plant Hires Hs2 operatives.
Dave and Ben met me at my house, we drove to collect Alex, Craig, and Harley from different locations within Essex, stocked up on refreshments and headed towards the start point.
We arrived at our hotel to a very warm welcome, where we then distributed our team wear for the upcoming days, kindly donated to us by Helly Hansen Workwear.
Once all checked in, we made our way to our rooms to prepare for day 1, the time we got to bed 1am, the time of our alarm to start day 1, 3pm! Not ideal but it’s the way it had to be done in terms of work/family life balance.
Day 1 started at the HS2 BBV Curzon Street site in Birmingham, we departed from there at 0400hrs and headed along the Grand Union Canal towards Kenilworth. Arriving in Kenilworth at 11am we stopped for a coffee, of which was kindly donated to us by the great team at the Morning Sunshine Café!
Heading into the second half of day 1 the legs begun to seize, little blisters started to appear and the thought of getting back to the hotel for a hot shower and feet up couldn’t come quick enough! However, being day 1 with 2 days to go the personal phycological games had begun. As the day was closing out, we were gifted by the gods the most incredible sunset, giving us that much need moral boost heading into the final 6 miles. 6pm hit, the sunset had dropped and the van was ready waiting for us, at the very top of a hill in a beautiful English village called Wormleighton.
We got back in the van and made way back to the Warwickshire Park Hotel, a hot shower and a great spread of food and drink was there waiting for us. With huge thanks to Flannery Plant Hire & The Warwickshire Park Hotel team.
Day 2 begun once again at 3am, breakfast served by the hotel team and the van defrosted ready to take us to where we left off, Wormleighton.
With 5 of us in the van, plus 2 camera men and our driver, I am confident that the local residents of this very quiet, very remote English village thought this was some kind of drug raid…We hopped out promptly and got on our way!
Despite swollen limbs and bruised feet, we found a respectable pace as a team, we located our lunch stop and headed for it, lunch awaited at Brackley A422 EKFB – Cooked and served by no other than our event partner Bon Appetit. On previous treks we have avoided sitting down to long for lunch due to the legs seizing, however this event taught us something new, despite the seizing the body needed both the rest and the nutrition. It took 20 minutes to get back in the swing of the walking after lunch but after that we were away.
We had hit 38 miles with darkness approaching when we all come together and agreed that something had to give if we were to make the targeted 40 miles safely before darkness. Only 1 option……Run! Who knows where we found the energy, but we did, together as a team it was quite a humbling experience, we all pulled together, motivated each other, and jogged the final 2 miles.
Again, someone was looking down on us, at the 40 mile mark a cracking village pub lit up like a Christmas tree awaited our arrival.
The team camaraderie was at a high, great achievement was felt and to know we had not only passed halfway but we only had one more day left was extremely uplifting…. We got ourselves in the team van and headed to our accommodation for the night, whilst in the van and all of us being on bit of a high I remembered I had my Spotify account linked to the vans Bluetooth…. Oasis, Bryan Adams, The Killers to name a few, echoed through the English countryside as the riot van of broken men screamed their heads off. It was an unplanned, priceless moment that looking back really capped off what this event was all about. A team of men coming together, to support each other, to enjoy each other’s company and to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Day 3 was just a case of getting it done, we were all in pieces, feeling battered but not broken. I was at my most miserable state and lunch couldn’t come quick enough, fortunately our great friend Phil Akers joined the party, the perfect person with the perfect cheap form of uplifting banter, walking the full day with us, members of HS2 SCS & Essex Fire & Rescue Service plus my dear sister also came onboard for the afternoon. Lunch was once again cooked and served by the great team at Bon Appetit, this time at the HS2 Align project.
With grit in our teeth, pavements getting busier and the fresh air of the English countryside disappearing we knew central London was approaching, we arrived at the finishing line and were welcomed by the great team at HS2 Mace – Dragados, Euston Station.
Team hugs, high fives, big well dones and a few tears of emotion, we did it, we made it from Birmingham to London, Curzon Street to Euston Station. Clocking 125 miles over 3 days, walking for a combined 42 hours.
It was by far the hardest challenge I have voluntarily taken on in my life and I believe that the team would say the same. Both from a mental and physical perspective. However reflecting on the achievement and understanding just how far we can push ourselves truly shows that we are a lot stronger than we realise.