Annual 100 mile walk
The annual 100 mile event is the LDWA’s flagship event. Held every year in a different part of the country, to coincide with the late May Bank Holiday, up to 500 people gather to walk 100 miles in 48 hours. In order to enter all these people will have completed a qualifying event beforehand. The first 100 mile event held was the Downsman 100 in 1973. Since then, with the exception of 2001 when foot and mouth closed the countryside, there has been an event every year.
Typically it takes about 3 years to organise a 100 mile event. This feat is undertaken by local groups with the help of supporters, friends and families who put in hours of unpaid time to make the event a success. Success it must be... Depending on the weather and conditions prevailing on the days on the event around 70% of the entrants complete the course. Some will run a large part of the route in say 26 hours, others will take up the full 48 hours to finish. All will have to go through at least one night and possibly two. Checkpoints dispensing tea, hearty food and much cheer (but no beds!) are run by volunteers from local groups and like minded organisations along the route. A cooked breakfast and a chance to soak feet and change clothes is provided at around the 60 mile point. All completing the distance within 48 hours receive a badge and a certificate and a fantastic feeling of satisfaction. Memories of the pain endured must be very short as many go on to repeat the performance in future years, obtaining their 10 Hundreds badge. There are now also badges awarded for 20, 30 and 40 100s completions.
Future 100s planned are:
- In 2014 the event has been allocated to the South Wales Group and will be named the Valleys 100.
- In 2015 the event is being organised by the East Lancashire Group and will be named the Red Rose 100.
- In 2016 the event is being organised by the Dorset Group.
- In 2017 the event will be called the The Crosses Hundred and is being organised by the North Yorkshire Group.
The 100 mile event is also amusingly described in ‘Out On Your Feet; The Hallucinatory World of Hundred-Mile Walking’ by Julie Welch available from the LDWA shop. First timers may find it best to read it after they have completed their first 100 miles.