SEVERE knee pain and an impressive crop of blisters combined to force the Chronicle’s news editor to abandon his 100k charity walk at the halfway stage.
Chris Longhurst was attempting to complete the gruelling Thames Path Challenge on Saturday (14) which involved walking along the famous river from Bishops Park, Fulham, to Henley-upon-Thames in Oxfordshire in 24 hours.
However, despite having completed plenty of training and setting off at a confident pace, by the time he reached Staines in Surrey - just 1k short of the 50k marker - progress ground to a halt.
He said: “It had all gone so well up to that point, my feet were a bit sore, but I had bagfuls of energy still to use and was feeling mentally ready for the night stage of the course.
“I’d breezed through Putney, Barnes and Kew, passing Chiswick and Brentford on the opposite bank, down through Richmond, Kingston, Hampton Court and Sunbury.
“The weather was pretty miserable, but the scenery was beautiful and the enthusiasm from my fellow walkers was inspiring.
“The knee pain happened so suddenly, it took me totally by surprise, just as I reached Staines High Street the right knee buckled and I knew I couldn’t take another step.”
Chris, who signed up for the event back in May, has spent the past few months fundraising for the event on befalf of ECO, the charitable name for Hounslow Urban Farm, in Feltham.
Father and daughter team Tony and Alice Purdy and all their staff moved to the farm from Syon Park and have set themselves the task of building a new education centre and indoor rainforest on site.
This year they were chosen by new Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Sachin Gupta to be his official charity for his term in office and it was this which inspired Chris to do his bit to help as well.
Chris added: “I was gutted because I so wanted to get the whole way, the Urban Farm are great supporters of the local community and I know how much the money means to their work.
“However, I think 30 miles in a day still rates as good going and I’m feeling nothing but pride in myself for having gotten that far.
“There are so many people to thank; everyone who sponsored me for a start, and particularly to Brentford Football Club who put up £250 of their own money which was massively generous and very humbling.
“I must also pay triubute to the fantastic managers and staff at Hogarth Health Club, in Chiswick, for allowing me to use their facilities for my training these past few months.
“I literally could not have got as far as I did without the support and training they provided.
“I’d love to think I could come back next year and complete the whole course, but even if I don’t I know the Chronicle looks forward to continuing to publicise the Urban Farm and cannot wait for the day when the new-look site is ready for opening.”
Alice Purdy was full of praise for Chris’ efforts on their behalf and said: “We all still think he’s amazing even if he didn’t get the whole way.
“We all want to say thank you so so much for sponsoring Chris, the money is going to be incredibly useful to us
“30 miles is further than I could do and we wish him well for a speedy recovery.”