As their fundraising adventure for Doctors Without Borders comes to an end, we catch up with Zak, Alex, Will and Gabriel to hear their post-coast-to-coast challenge thoughts. Read on to find out everything about this final chapter.
How did you find the experience?
Zak Stucke: Incredible to say the least. Times were tough, mental battles were fought, but the sense of achievement upon reaching Robin Hood’s Bay was indescribable.
What was the hardest part?
Alex Thornbury: I’d say the hardest part was the mental battle we faced every day. Sometimes the journey to the finish point seemed endless. The morale was really knocked by aching muscles and joints, wet clothes and bad night’s sleep. But we all found our own ways to conquer these thoughts. My favourite way was to just break the task into chunks and push to get to each checkpoint. This made the challenge seem a lot more doable. The thought of letting my friends down as well as everyone who had donated really made quitting impossible. It was all worth it for the feeling of accomplishment at the end.
How did your fundraising campaign for Doctors Without Borders end?
Gabriel Lewis: Throughout our adventure, we were consistently putting out content for all our friends and family to see on our respective social media accounts. Before starting, we decided that when the journey finally came to an end we would put together a high-quality video of our experience, which is now ready for everyone to see! However, whilst Zak was putting this video together, we have each been taking the time the time to thank those who had financially supported our cause, expressing our appreciation for each individual donation and how each helped provide the necessary motivation to push on when things got difficult.
Did you feel like you were getting the fuel you needed?
AT: We definitely had all the fuel we needed. I feel like the challenge would have been significantly harder if we hadn’t. The chocolate mass gainer and Aftermath were my favourite to start and end the day as they provided a lot of necessary calories. Plus, I found them extremely easy to drink. Then when we stopped during the day the protein brownies, cashew nuts and biltong were ideal for topping up the energy levels. The Complete Greens helped make the diet more sustainable over a 12-day period. We also made sure to drink plenty of water to stay fully hydrated.
What are the top 3 highlights of the journey?
Will Miller: Personally, the first of my top three highlights came before the journey had even begun. The motivating spark for our adventure came to life as I lay awake one evening growing more and more tired of Covid’s apparent omnipresence in each aspect of the everyday. I hadn’t seen anyone who was not my parents in what seemed like an eternity. The four walls of my bedroom began to feel more like a prison cell as opposed to a place of comfort. I yearned for some sort of challenge, something which would push me physically unlike ever before. As evening turned to night, all sorts of ideas danced across my mind. Finally, I settled upon the idea of a cross country walk. The next morning, I rang up some friends who I thought would be mad enough to agree to do something like this with me. To my luck, they agreed without much persuasion, and so for the next few months, we set about planning just exactly what we wanted to do before finally settling upon our coast-to-coast challenge.
The second moment came when we were encountering potentially the most arduous part of our journey in the Lake District. The extremely mountainous landscape was entirely unforgiving. We were in midst of a heatwave where the temperature would venture up to 30 degrees. However, when we reached the peaks of the mountains and looked across the landscape below we put things in perspective. The sense of achievement was massive.
Yet, this is unrivalled by the sense of accomplishment we all felt when we finally reached the end of the coast-to-coast challenge on the East coast and Robin Hood’s Bay. It was undoubtedly the best moment and the greatest highlight of the trip. It made all twelve days of endurance worth it and we felt we had accomplished something.
Are you planning on doing something similar in the future?
ZS: I think we can all agree walking is out of the question for some time. However, there is talk of traversing the Andes next summer on horseback… we’ll have to see what the future brings!