The World Photo Tour special challenge: to walk 100 KM in less than 24 hours
Conditions: 25 KG backpack without water or food, hilly road, maximum temp.: 33°C, strong determination. And this is how it was.
Said goodbye to Marie and her family and started at 11 sharp. Walking mostly through country roads and forests, the first 20 km were a blast.
Not a single break was taken until five hours later, in Trest, after having completed 30 km. The rhythm was easy to keep for that first third.
Close to the sunset, I began feeling tired but I just kept going for I knew what was going to happen. Thing is, as said, the rhythm was great throughout the day, despite the hot weather, I didn’t mind it at all. But at night I was bound to slow down as I grew more and more tired. Plus, after Trest, I’ve hit the main road and it was quite busy. That road would’ve taken me to Pelhrimov. Throughout the night the long walk had its toll. My feet were in pain, and I was sooooo tired. But if I was to take a break, the pain in the feet only got worse, plus I really feared I would then fall asleep if getting too comfy. So I needed to keep the rest time to a minimum. In Moravske Budejovice, 30 km away from reaching my goal, with 9 hours left until 11, I had an one hour long break. When I started to walk again, the first hundreds steps were agonizing as the blisters grew all over my soles. So what seemed to be a piece of cake – 30 km to be walked in 8 hours, actually turned out to be a challenge in itself.
The night sky was amazing and gazing at Casiopea and Orion rising was a fine treat of the night walk. When morning hit the sky, I still had about 15 km left. And oh my, they were the longest 15 km in my life. By now, each step was an individual struggle. The backpack felt like 50 and then the 10 km left like 100. And I knew I will have done it, like getting to Znojmo before 11, but in my mind I had no other target apart from getting there, no matter if less or in more than 24 hours, I just wanted to have it done already. More and more shorter breaks. The joy on my face when seeing Znojmo in the distance? I cried. For it was the single most tiring experience in my entire life and I went through it against the hot weather, against the long distance, against the pain and against the heavy backpack. I needed to prove to myself that I can do it. And I did.
Once in Znojmo I walked all the way to town centre. Time: 9:50. Distance walked: 101 km. Walking time: 20 hours and 7 minutes. Breaks time: 2 hours and 43 minutes. Overall: 22 hours and 50 minutes. Next challenge: to get an under 20 hours walking time.
It was Pavel Kovarik who first saw me after this. By his words, I was shattered. Thanks to him, I had a place to dose off on sleep.
First of all, I did it to celebrate both 6 months on the road and having completed 3.000 km. For which I thank every single person I met on this road. I will now try and mention everyone that helped me get so far. I might not have all the names, though and I am sorry for that. And I could begin with Simon and Rachael Meyer and their lovely family, with Fiona and Robert, with everyone that made the farewell party in Harrogate a blast, with Lucia, with everyone that came to wish me safe roads that February morning. I would continue with Anca and Tony from Sherburn in Elmet, with Anca Stoina, Alexandrina Boariu, Silviu Pantea, Alex Gorun, Anamaria Froman, Mihai Basalic, Dainora Olsauskaite, Lucy Cover, Narcisa Banda, Claudia Gorunescu, Alexandru-Ionut Bosnea, Radu Dascalul, Margaret Krupinski, Stelian Pavalache, Andreea Bumbac, Voinea Dragos, Cristian Tudorache, Cristina Craciunescu, Mihai Radovicescu, Simona Oboroceanu, Tim Cook, Patrick Dunlop, Daniela, Rick, Catalina & Marius H., Daniela Matica, Ramona Sarbu, LG, Evaldas and Justina, Matthieu Dang, Manuela and Cezar Ciobanu, Joost Laureyssens, Geoff Greig, Max Van Hoek, Jessica Bredero, Micaela Nardella, Tamara Bottenberg, Friederike George, Karin Bouchain, Sylvain, Caro Kruse, Anja Lotties, Raúl Doerwald, Johann-Philipp Crusius, Marie Vitkova, Moritz Zimmermann, Annette, Annewandlang Grünerzwerg, Pavel Kovarik (this guy saw me immediately after my long walk!), Mihaela and Claudiu Luchian, Tomas Soltes, Valeriu Nechita, Andrei Cosmin Stan, Laura Irina Bistriceanu, Adrian Iacobescu, Adi Kourt, Stefania Dumbrava, Alin Iacob, Anca and Remus Preuss, Maria Alexandra Alecu, Iulia Ignatov, Ionut Magdau, Thea Winther Enevoldsen, Edi and Amalia Popa, Radu Dan Prundus, Adela Barbulescu, Nicki Robilliard, Mark Ian Hodgson, Osian Batyka-Williams, Roksana Lachewicz, Robertto Papara, Isabella Andrade, Desislava Aleksandrova, Luminita Apostu, Károly Füzessi, Silviu Ispir, Cristian Ene, Cristina Dinculescu, Andreea Aniculaesei, Kari Mari, Jeppe, Simina Cernat, Catalina Chiuaru, Cristian Patrascu, Andra Firulescu, Marius Mardare, Anca Vacaru, Mihaela Vacaru, Cosmin Marin, Cosmin Stefan Lazar, Marius Gavril, Klaus Poulsen, Szilárd Gáspár-Szilágyi, Irina Totolici, Henrieta Harcarikova, Alex Glodan, Krasi Krastev, Isi Dawson, Alina Moșescu, Amalie Olesen, Liana Oprea, Karina and Mickey, Jeremy Stephens, Lydia Fernandez Arias, Alexandru Barbu, Levy Nagy, Doris Neubauer, Oana Preda, Ramona Maria Achim, Cretu Gabriela, Rachel Anderson… and many many more, for sure. Of course, because of all these people and thanks to my family and friends, I could go on. Without any of you, this wouldn’t have been possible the way it happened.
to be continued