It was third time lucky for Seaford Strider Nick Farley – who took first place in this year’s Blind Veterans 100k London to Brighton walking challenge.
Nick completed the walk in 18 hours 20 minutes and 50 seconds over July 7 and 8. He has more than doubled his initial sponsorship target to raise more than £725 so far for the charity, which supports servicemen and women with life after sight loss.
Nick’s winning walk comes after two previous attempts at completing the challenge. On his first attempt he got as far as 72k, completing the full distance second time around. For this year’s 100k – his first solo attempt at the distance – he set himself the challenge of achieving a personal best (PB).
The route takes participants through Wandsworth, Coulsdon, Caterham across the M25, down through East Grinstead to Scaynes Hill then Plumpton before heading over to Falmer, passing the American Express Stadium, then up and over the Downs to the finish at Blind Vets centre in Ovingdean.
Walkers must pass through seven checkpoints during the 100k challenge, which also provide them with foods, fluids, medication and bags of encouragement. Nick was also able to watch England v Sweden live at Checkpoint 3.
Nick said: “Over the course of the route I met some amazing people, partially sighted Blind Veterans members and guides who were simply inspiring to say the least. This drove me further to achieve what I had set out to do in support of the cause.”
The charity is a cause close to Nick’s heart: “It was Blind Veterans UK, formally St Dunstan’s which brought my Great Grandfather Joe Dellow and family including my nan down to Brighton in November 1948 when he became a member.”
Nick stayed motivated to complete the distance by keeping a close eye on his timings and benchmarking them against his second successful completion of the race.
He added: “I maintained my fluid intake, ate when I felt I needed as the heat really took away the hunger and constantly topped up the factor 50 sun cream, all of which kept me moving at an average pace of approximately 14:41 per mile. I felt strong throughout and was making great progress from checkpoint to checkpoint. I looked after my feet with regular sock changes, powder and tape as the blisters appeared, quite early on actually.”
Nick knew he was on the home stretch as he approached Checkpoint 7, with his wife and friends on hand to give their support.
“I was overcome with emotion as I crossed the line to get home first overall with a PB time of 18:20:50, having realised what I’d achieved on the journey I had undertaken in that last final 1k.”
- To support Nick’s fundraising challenge for Blind Veterans UK visit his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Nick-Farley4