Steve's Great Hike
- Credit: Steve Richardson
This summer, after a delay of almost two years due to the pandemic, a sprightly East Devon resident is set to embark on an Ultra Challenge event to help raise funds for two charities close to his heart, namely The Devon Wildlife Trust and Alzheimer's Society.
On Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July, Steve Richardson will be taking on the epic South West Coast-2-Coast 100km route across the changeable, undulating countryside from Minehead in Somerset to Dawlish on the South Devon coast.
Steve, from Shute, is a keen fitness enthusiast and originally chose to take on the long walk as a way to challenge himself.
No stranger to arduous hikes, having completed the South Downs Way and the North Downs Way, when Steve saw a promotion for the Coast to Coast walk on Facebook back in 2019, he was intrigued. His ultimate ambition is to complete the entire South West Coast Path.
Steve said: "I've always been drawn to Alfred Wainwright's famous Coast to Coast walk from St. Bees to Robin Hood Bay so seeing a South West version immediately grabbed my attention.
"There is something 'complete' about a coast-to-coast challenge. Unlike other long-distance walks, you can't carry on walking once you reach the sea!"
Instead of the continual day into night challenge, where participants complete half of the walk in the dark, Steve has chosen to embrace the long two-day hike during daylight hours so he can fully appreciate the stunning changing landscapes en route. He said: "I'll be walking through some amazingly beautiful countryside so I figured I would prefer the walk when it is light."
To prepare for the 100km trek, Steve is clocking up the pre-walk training hours so his heart, lungs and legs are suitably ready in time. To build endurance, he runs three times a week, and since February has been going on specific training walks every two weeks, slowly increasing the distance each time. The first walk was a gentle nine miles and he is striving to hike 25 miles in one go.
He said: "Walking on tired and achy legs will be a challenge so part of the training will involve walking on back-to-back days to get my body used to the repeated exertion."
For a bit of fun, Steve has been creating little vlogs of his training walks, that can be viewed on the YouTube channel called South West Runner.
The challenge starts in Minehead on the morning of Saturday, July 24. After an overnight stop at the halfway point in Tiverton, Steve will set out to complete the second leg of the 100km hike, with Dawlish being the finish line.
Steve's outlook is certainly a positive one. He said: "I'm enjoying the training and the anticipation of the event, and I'm excited about the sense of achievement when I complete the challenge!"
He added: "The vital work of The Devon Wildlife Trust depends on the support of people who care about the future of Devon's wildlife and the unique natural environment, so this is a way I can help this fantastic charity. I've also chosen the Alzheimer's Society as mental health is something that has become increasingly important during lockdown."
To donate, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SteveRichardson20
For details about the hike, visit: https://ultrachallenge.com/coast-2-coast