Blood, sweat, pain, horrific blisters and sleep deprivation could not deter eighteen Donisthorpe Hall walkers competing in the round-the-clock Boost 24 Hour Challenge.
In a project initiated by Leeds pharmacist Ashley Cohen, Donisthorpe invited energetic members of the community to give up 24 hours of their lives in an endurance walk through Yorkshire countryside raising in excess of £40,000.
Organiser Ashley wanted to to organise an event that “offered people a real challenge; one which could prove to be a massive achievement to complete.”
The 62-mile walking route, which started at Leeds Golden Acre park on Sunday terminated at Donisthorpe Hall on Monday.
The walk was structured and managed by Carnegie Great Outdoors who provided support to the walkers.
Mini buses laden with food, drink and first aid equipment drove to various check points along the route which organisers compared to walking two and a third marathons.
The amateur walkers had been in training for three months in wintry conditions of snow, ice, gales and rain. Ashley said camaraderie was “intense and we all supported each other.
“The night section was toughest — we were at our lowest, cold and tired.
“Many soldiered on though with significant foot blisters and leg injuries.”
Working mums Natalie Rich and Katie Newman raised in excess of £3k between them and used the event to get fit.
“Prior to volunteering we were not regular walkers but we certainly pounded the streets night and day in preparation,” said Katie.
In spite of suffering horrific blisters, treated later at hospital, young dad Ilan Sherman insisted finishing the route.
“His dogged determination and courage to finish was incredible,” commented Ashley.
Main sponsor was Leeds based sports and energy drinks company Boost Drinks. Their generosity enabled every donation to go directly to Donisthorpe.
Cheering from the sidelines, Fabian Hamilton MP commented on the walkers “strength, courage and determination.
“The cause cannot be beaten and neither could the walkers,” he said.
Donisthorpe chairman Andrew Brown described the result as absolutely brilliant — “the effort the walkers and volunteers put in to this challenge was unbelievable.”
Eighty supporters gathered to give the conquering heroes a rousing three cheers on their return to Donisthorpe on Monday.
Fundraiser Alexandra Myers said “the event went beyond expectations.
“Having witnessed what they endured in 24-hours was staggering. I am truly humbled by their endeavours, they are Donisthorpe’s heroes.”
Solicitor Marcus Armstrong covered sixty-two miles. “No snags — it was a perfect walk, I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” he said.
Mum of three Madeleine Klineberg, whose son Louis walked a section of the night walk with her, clocked up 55 miles — “I’m so proud of all the walkers; what a fantastic team spirit.”
She added: “All went well except for my extremely blistered feet — they are well strapped up now but I’m completely exhausted.”
For brother and sister team Daniel Myers and Karen Lewis the walk provided personal motivation.
Their father Peter Myers spent the last weeks of his life at Donisthorpe and died two weeks ago.
“Losing dad so close to the event made us even more determined and strengthened our resolve.
“We both experienced first-hand the fantastic care the home provides,” Daniel said.
“We both thought of dad throughout the walk — he kept us going when things got tough.”
Money raised for the 183-bed care home will go towards renovations.