Thames Path Challenge

It is now one more week until I will be embarking on my 100km sponsored walk, taking part in the Thames Path Challenge – in fact as I write this (11:00am), by this time next week I should be about coming to the end, or already making my way back home…  That’s IF I can manage to keep up the walking rate which I was able to maintain on my last training walk.

Thames Path Challenge


I have been training for approximately 5 weeks with a few shorter walks around Wingham Wildlife Park.  I managed to map out a 1km walk which makes it really easy to keep an eye on distances travelled.  Especially as I tried to save some money when I purchased a fitness bracelet, and ended up with something which barely worked and got my distances completely wrong (it counted a 15km walk I did as only being 9km)!

To give me a more realistic training experience however (with more different elevations and path types etc.), I have also been doing one walk outside the park per week.  A lot of these have been along the Kent coast, using the England Coastal Path as a guide – and I must say it’s a pretty stunning place to walk.  You don’t need to go to Iceland, USA, Costa Rica or Malaysia to see stunning scenery (although having been to these, I am glad to say that I have been able to witness some amazing scenery in these places too – topics for future blogs perhaps).

We’ve got some pretty spectacular sights on our door step!

Thames Path Challenge

Sadly, on my last training walk (from Dover to Wingham along the coast) I injured my ankle and had to cut short my 40km walk in Sandwich.  However, I still managed to do 34 Km in 7 hours or so, and did the last 4km hobbling along.  This was a great speed for me and I didn’t feel at all tired by the end of it, with the only tender bits being my hurt ankle and compeed covered feet!

Thames Path Challenge

Kit Bag

It was also my first opportunity to train whilst carrying my full kit for the walk, which was actually much better than I had expected considering I was carrying 3 litres of water, numerous supplements to add to the water when it is re-filled, a small lunch, change of underwear & 2 pairs of socks, a spare t-shirt for the end, fleece, waterproof jacket, first aid kit, head torch, hand torch, GoPro & selfie stick, 2 energy banks for my phone and head phones, deodorant (as I’ll be catching the train home), wet wipes and a microfiber towel.

There are a couple of other bits and bobs which I’ll be adding to the bag, but it shouldn’t end up weighing much more than I already experienced last week.

Thames Path Challenge

Thames Path Challenge

My foot is now a lot better although I have had it in an ankle brace since I injured it whilst I walk.  I will be bringing this with me just in case I need it, but hope that it has now pretty much recovered…  maybe brining some ibuprofen gel and tablets will be a wise idea to help me power through if I need it!

On Friday 9th September 2016 I will be travelling up to London (in fact the car journey from Wingham Wildlife Park to Greenwich, where we usually park when going to London is the exact same distance as I will be walking).  After enjoying a night in a hotel in Putney, I will be walking to Bishops Park in Fulham for a 7:40am start (although I need to be there for 6:40am).

From then on I’ll be walking for approximately the next 24 hours along a 100km route which follows the thames from London to Henley on Thames (near Reading):

Fund Raising

So why on earth would I walk for 100km both through the day and the night?

The reason is simple, I’m trying to raise money for Wingham Wildlife Park Animal Welfare (WWPAW) – registered charity number 1162346.  The slogan for the charity is Giving safe homes for life both in captivity and the wild!  By this we mean that the charity is able to support the rehoming projects which Wingham Wildlife Park is involved with as well as getting involved with organisations abroad to help protect wild animals, the their natural habitats.  Our best example of this is support of the Entopika Foundation in Colombia, doing amazing work for the Spix Night Monkey!

Aotus vociferans

So far I have already managed to raise slightly more than the minimum in order to take part, however I’d like to go above and beyond the basic minimum amount, aiming for at least £500 before the walk starts.  There is still time to support my fund raising on my Go Fund Me page which you can reach by clicking here.  Alternatively if you want to try and get something in return for your help there are a few ebay auctions which will be finishing a couple of days before the walk…  This way you can try and buy an item, the money from which will go straight towards my fund raising total.  There are a couple of selected auctions below:

Blue & Gold Macaw painting by myself

Girl in the rain painting by Jodie

Leopard painting by Sam

Hand woven blanket donated by Siesta in Canterbury

Ben Fogle autograph

Bill Oddie autograph

Sue Perkins autograph

Photo of one of our Red Pandas by Martyn Bennett

Photo of one of our Red Pandas by Sharon Bennett

These items will only be around for a short period so get in there quickly to have a look and make a bid!  Also make sure to click the link for my other auctions as we have a lot more autographs, a couple more paintings and also some more items from the guys at Siesta in Canterbury, if you have a look through our other lots.

Thank You

I’d like to say a huge thank you to every one who has already supported me for this fund raiser, I hope that everything will go alright on 10th and 11th of September and that I will finish the walk with no real problems.  I feel confident and am looking forward to it…  However any more help which you can offer would be greatly appreciated.  The work which WWPAW do is not cheap and we need your support to keep making lives better.  The more money we have to use, the more animals we can male a real difference to!  Please share this blog post with your friends and family, because even £1 can help bring my total higher and help us make that difference.

About Markus - Curator

Markus is the animal collections curator at Wingham Wildlife Park and has been with the park since 2009. When working with the animals he still spends time in the reptile house which has always been his passion and forte. Outside work his main passion is travelling the world and seeing animals in their natural habitats.