A supporter in Lancashire was so inspired by last year’s Trek26 that she’s set to do it again in 2020.
When Kirstie Banks-Lyon signed up for Trek26 Hadrian’s Wall last year, she didn’t expect it to be on one of the wettest days of an unusually rainy summer. If anything, ‘the best efforts of the English summer to cause havoc’, as she puts it, have made her even more determined to take part again.
‘It was mentally tough, but there was a sense of camaraderie.’
‘It felt like such an achievement. I’m even filling up now, thinking of it,’ says Kirstie.
Kirstie still gets emotional as she talks about the reaching the finish line, with people cheering her and her fellow trekkers on through the rain.
‘Seeing the finish arch – I had friends and family there supporting me – it felt like such an achievement. I’m even filling up now, thinking of it.
‘We were out of our comfort zone for 10 hours; for someone with dementia, it’s not something they have any control over.’
Kirstie, in Morecambe, Lancashire, has first-hand experience of the impact of dementia.
‘My husband, Simon, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2018, aged 58. It was a shock. All of a sudden I thought, “What do we do? What’s going to happen?”
‘It was something you think happens to other people,’ says Kirstie.
‘I was about to retire, coming up to 50, when he was diagnosed. It was something you think happens to other people.’
Kirstie, a police officer for 30 years, began to find answers on our website and through Talking Point, our online community. That’s also where she read about Trek26.
‘Having run a half-marathon, I thought I’d love to do the marathon distance as a walking challenge. It gave me a focus as well.’
Trek26 events take in six spectacular routes – around the Brecon Beacons, Lake District, Stonehenge, Dartmoor and London, as well as Hadrian’s Wall. You can sign up for either the 13-mile route or the full 26 miles and there’s support every step of the way, online and in person.
‘We did the walk together, sharing stories and supporting each other to get around,’ says Kirstie.
‘The Facebook group was brilliant,’ says Kirstie. ‘Through that, I met with other walkers the night before. We did the walk together, sharing stories and supporting each other to get around.
‘I felt such a sense of pride afterwards to complete it in under 10 hours and raise over £1,000 for such a worthwhile cause.’
Here’s to a sunnier day this year!
Join hundreds of others on Trek26.