Fitness,  Lifestyle

My first Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge charity walk

Lei Hang doing the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge 2021 to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hopsital for Children (GOSH)
Lei Hang with her Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge Event Pass

First of all I’d like to thank everyone that has supported and sponsored my 26km Ultra Challenge walk! I’m also very grateful to my other half Oliver who has also done the Ultra Challenge, carried the heavy backpack for the whole walk and looked after me during and after the charity event.

Lei Hang and Oliver Reade at the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge raising money for Great Ormond Street
Oliver Reade & Lei Hang

Last weekend, Saturday 10th July 2021 I’ve done my very first charity walk to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH). The fundraising event I took part in was the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge by Action Challenge, which takes places on the Isle of Wight once a year.

Why I chose to fundraise for GOSH

Lei Hang's daughter Yasmin
The Thrifty Island Baby aka Yasmin

My beautiful daughter Yasmin who suffers from the life long conditions Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia was my motivation to do this long and challenging walk for a good cause. She had a major brain and spine surgery due to her conditions in 2019, which took her a year to fully recover. All the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff have been amazing, so I wanted to give back to the community!

To find out more about Yasmin and her medical conditions Chiary Malformation & Syringomyelia have a look at my earlier post: Lei Hang takes on the 25km Ultra Challenge to fundraise for GOSH

Since these conditions are rare and not very well studied, I know that research is crucial to understand diseases and illnesses. Coming from a medical science background, I’m aware that these research projects require a huge amount of funding. There are so many illnesses and diseases out there that are not well researched. What makes me sad is seeing so many children suffering from severe or long term illnesses that haven’t even lived there life yet! I’m raising money for GOSH in the hope to save the children and help kids live a fuller and happier life.

My Isle of Wight Ultra fundraising page

Lei Hang's daugther after surgery for Chiari Malformation
Yasmin the day of her brain and spine surgery

I chose to set up my fundraising page via JustGiving and managed to raise £260 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Without you guys that have supported me, I wouldn’t have smashed my fundraising target! So thank you all so much! If you have not yet donated but would like to donate, I’d be very grateful.

My experience doing the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge

As this was my very first walk, I’ve decided to go for one of their shorter distances. Hence the 2nd quarter 26km challenge. I occasionally do 18km walks, so thought it’s the safest option to pick the 26 km for my first Ultra Challenge. I was super excited, but also very nervous to do this walk, as I didn’t know what to expect.

A week before the Ultra Challenge, I’ve bought a pair of Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes for the walk. My gym trainers wouldn’t provide much grip and support. I wasn’t sure whether they will be comfortable or give me any blisters before purchasing them. I have to say they are super comfortable, had no blisters and the grip was brilliant! If you are planning to do a long charity walk like the Ultra Challenge, I highly recommend these shoes!

  • Oliver & I at Tennysons Monument, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, UK

The trail started at Nodewell Farm, near the Isle of Wight Needles attraction and ended in Chale. A map and my route & stats can be seen above. The walk was challenging, but I still enjoyed it very much. The view along the cost was breathtaking. I was very lucky that my other half Oliver was carrying all my stuff as well as his. I’m sure I’d be struggling a lot more if I had to carry the heavy water bottles. We’ve also carried O.R.S hydration tablets with us to keep us well hydrated.

Some snacks I’ve picked up at the rest stop to regain some energy.

There was a rest point 17km from the start at IoW Pearl, where we took an hour break to regain energy by eating snacks, resting our feet and refilling our water bottles. There were loads of snacks to pick from. I felt spoilt with choice, so picked quiet a few things to have at the rest stop and some bits to boost my energy levels on the remaining 9km. As we left the rest stop, it was still very grey and cloudy. The rain has thankfully stopped.

Oliver Reade and Lei Hang at Isle of Wight Pearl Ultra Challenge rest stop. Charity event 2021
Next Stage: 9km remaining to the finish line in Chale

As we continued our walk the sun got out and I didn’t realise that I had a sunburn on my shoulders and neck, until we got to Chale. I should have listened to Oliver and put the suncream on… The last 9km felt so long for some reason.

When we got to the finishing line, we got a glass of prosecco, our quarter Ultra Challenge finisher medals, a finisher t-shirt and our meal vouchers each. I was over the moon that I managed to finish the 26 km walk, as I was worried that it may drop out if it gets too much. The sense of achievement greatly boosted my confidence in doing more charity walks in the future.

  • Lei Hang and Oliver Read with their Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge Finisher Medals
  • Lei Hang and Oliver read Finished the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge

How I felt after completing the 26km Ultra Challenge

I didn’t feel any pains immediately after finishing, I guess the adrenaline was still running through my body. However I felt very tired and hungry, therefore had to get food as as possible. We use the meal vouchers that we got at the finishing line to get some warm food. After some food and rest we’ve decided to drive back home.

Lei Hang Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge food hall
Finally some food!

Because I was so tired and had to drive about 30 minutes to get home, Oliver kept me awake by talking to me through the whole journey back. Only when I got out of the car at home, I’ve noticed my lower back and legs to ache. I felt very dizzy, weak and kept seeing black for few seconds too. I’m so lucky to have my hero Oliver in my life who looked after me, who was exhausted himself!

Would I do another Ultra Challenge or a charity walk?

Hell yeah I would!

Despite feeling like crap for few days after the Ultra Challenge, I would definitely do another Ultra Challenge. I’ve already been looking at the London Winter Walk 2022 Ultra Challenge that takes place on 29th & 30th january 2022. I’m not sure whether I would go for the full marathon, but the half marathon looks very appealing.

I’m am also hoping to do the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge every year. I’ve lived on the island for so long and have not seen these stunning views before. Therefore would love to do the 1st Quarter Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge 2022, which starts from Cowes and ends at the Needles. This challenge would be 32km, thats 6km longer than the challenge we have just completed.

There are so many reason why I recommend people to do these charity walks. The benefits of doing such walk, jog or run:

  • Improves your fitness and health
  • Get some fresh air while excising
  • See the beautiful views and even discover new locations you may have never been to
  • Raise money for a good cause
  • Meet new people and maybe even make new friends