A SCOTTISH woman made lifelong friends after taking part in a 48-mile walk for charity.
In June 2013 Christina McPherson sat in her hotel room having a crisis of confidence. She’d taken on a huge challenge and was facing it alone – could she really do it?
A few months ago, she and a friend had signed up for the MoonWalk Scotland – but rather than walking the usual 26.2 mile overnight marathon they’d agreed to do an event called Over The Moon (OTM) – two marathons back to back.
The pair had trained together but neither of them had done enough training and at the last minute her friend pulled out.
Now Christina had to decide – was she really capable of walking 52.4 miles, overnight and completely alone? “I really wasn’t sure I could do it solo,” she said.
But it was the thought of the money she was raising for breast cancer causes which kept her going.
“I imagined myself going home and telling my sponsors ‘Sorry guys, I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to be by myself.’ It sounded a bit silly.”
Steeling herself, Christina, now 25, travelled to the huge pink tent on Leith Links that marked the start of the MoonWalk. She spotted a group of women wearing the striped hats which signalled they were doing the OTM too, and introduced herself.
One of them, Margaret MacLeod, took Christina under her wing and they walked the first 26 miles together.
As they walked, they chatted about their lives and found they had lots in common besides doing crazy walks together.
“Margaret was so easy to talk to and so encouraging – without her I would never have completed the first marathon.”
But as the night wore on and she hit mile 48, Christina hit a wall and had to quit. “I just couldn’t go on physically,” she recalls. Still, it had been a life-changing night for her – she and Margaret kept in touch via the MoonWalk Facebook page and arranged to do other fundraising walks together.
“We have a great time, chatting and singing – Margaret will often shout out to passers by, asking them to cheer us on and time goes much more quickly.”
As she went to more and more MoonWalk events, Christina made a whole new network of fundraising friends. “I’ve never been somewhere like that where women of all ages and backgrounds just get along with no barriers between them. It’s a great feeling.”
Margaret remains her closest walking friend however and the pair speak regularly on the phone and meet up several times a month – either to do events or just catch up over coffee.
By the beginning of this year, Christina had clocked up hundreds of miles walking for charity, but there was one challenge she still hadn’t faced. “The Over The Moon felt like unfinished business,” she says.
So this year she and Margaret, now 55, have signed up to do the challenge again. “This time I know I can do it,” Christina says. “And Margaret has promised to be with me every step of the way.”
This year the MoonWalk Scotland takes place on 11th June – there are three distances available. The New Moon, for newbie and younger walkers is 6.55 miles, the Half Moon is 13.1 miles and the Full Moon is 26.2 miles. And for the brave, the Over The Moon event is still 52.4 miles.
For more information go to http://www.walkthewalk.org/Challenges/TheMoonWalkScotland