Dutch Charity Coastal Walk Raises Over £2,000 for Fergus Fund
Sunday 7th October 2018
26.2 miles / 42.2 km / 63,000 steps for 9 hours along the Dutch coastline to raise more than £2,000 for PAC's Fergus Fund!
On Sunday 7th October David Littlejohns, PAC Trustee as well as our Webmeister and Marketing Officer, and his wife, Ginni, also an active PAC supporter, undertook and completed the Zeeland KustMarathon, described by the Dutch organisers as "the loveliest, but hardest, marathon" in all of Holland. The "loveliest" bit is self-evident, the "hardest" bit is clarified below. It took them just under 9 hours and 63,000 (FitBit-measured) steps to complete the 42.2 km / 26.2 mile course, to earn them their medals and finisher's T-shirts..
Ginni Littlejohns spent her childhood in Holland and still remains in close contact with her oldest friend, Henriette. It was Henriette and her husband Eric who invited David and Ginni to participate in this famous Dutch coastal marathon walk, which takes place in Zeeland every October. Zeeland is in the southernmost part of Holland and borders on Belgium; it is a well-known holiday destination for the Dutch and Belgians and is the equivalent of our Cornwall. This picturesque location is host to 5,000 participants in the annual ' Zeeland KustMarathon'.
Setting off at 8:00am prompt, David and Ginni crossed the Finish line just under 9 hours later, exhausted but elated. David was still recovering from a bout of shingles which he contracted two weeks before the marathon, during his final training sessions, so it was touch and go right up to the start as to whether he would have sufficient stamina to complete this rigorous task. No-one was more pleased than him when he collected his medal at the end in the seaside town of Zouteland!
The Hardest Yards...
What no-one had explained to David and Ginni was that the course had been changed this year to include a brutal 10km (6+ miles) section between 20km and 30km along the beach. This might have been alright had the sand been hard and compacted, but it turned out to be VERY SOFT SAND INDEED! Made softer by 2,500 previous walkers tramping across it and churning it up. It was here that David and Ginni had to dig deep into their reserves to plough on through. Beau Geste and 'Ice Cold in Alex' both sprang to mind as Ginni, and particularly David, made heavy going of these tasking conditions!
As David explains, "There's no doubt that it was the the fundraising donations which kept me going and pushing me forward; I was absolutely determined not to pull-up and let everyone down, but there were long moments on the beach section when I simply thought I would have to give up, as my stamina was running on empty".
Raising Money for the Fergus Fund
David and Ginni chose to raise money for PAC's Fergus Fund, which provides an annual bursary for a specific selected cancer research project (you can read more about the Fergus Fund by clicking on the tab in the main menu bar at the top of the page). They set themselves a target of £1,000, which was comfortably smashed, thanks to exteremely generous donations from family, friends and work colleagues. The £1,741 raised gets inflated to more than £2,000, thanks to the government's Gift Aid initiative.
There was a fantastic carnival atmosphere throughout the 42km, which included jazz bands, steel bands and brass bands interspersed along the coastal path, often appearing later again on the route as they leapfrogged each other to the Finish line in Zouteland.
There were also a number of refreshment areas at regular intervals, where volunteers handed out all manner of "pick-me-ups", from hot dogs to sticky cinnamon swirls and fresh fruit, as well as water bottles and soft drinks. And the crowd of onlookers during the final 5 km cheered everyone on to ensure flagging spirits and weary limbs found additional reserves to make the Finish line!
Want to experience the route of the KustMarathon?
You can see a funky 2-minute slideshow of the actual route trodden by David and Ginni (with interspersed photos) by clicking here (full-screen and with sound is recommended)