Winchester woman completes 100km walk for blind veterans in challenge before turning 60

Date
25 July 2016 11:48

A woman from Winchester has completed a mammoth 100 kilometre walk from London to Brighton raising money for Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Pip Varley, 59 and from Wonston, completed the gruelling Blind Veterans UK London to Brighton 100km course in 24 hours 46 minutes. She decided to take on the event as part of her decision at the beginning of the year to complete a challenge a month before she turns 60 in November.

Pip says: “I wanted to try lots of different things and challenge myself before my 60th birthday. I have already had a New Years’ Day swim in the sea, a 10 mile run and turned a wooden bowl. I will be taking part in a blindfolded tethered 10k run round the Olympic Park for RLSB in November.

“I decided that this 100km walk would be the main event though and it was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Pip’s brother, Nick Caplin, is the Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK so you would imagine that he pointed her in the direction of the event. However, this was not the case and Pip adds: “I had seen the 100k London to Brighton advertised and called my brother and told him I was entering. I asked if he was tough enough to join me!”

Pip has experience with sight loss as she volunteers as a sighted guide for the charity Guide Dogs. She also regularly coaches and referees Goalball games, a sport that was specifically designed to be played by the vision-impaired.

She says: “I know the amazing work that Blind Veterans UK do and I wanted to use my challenge to support such an amazing charity that helps blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women keep their independence.”

Pip, Nick, and the third member of their team Annie Pike, started the event in Fulham at 08:30 on Saturday (02/07) morning and finished more than 24 hours later after walking 100km at the Blind Veterans UK training centre in Brighton.

She says: “It was such a fantastic experience and I felt a real sense of achievement by finishing. The toughest part was just before half way when you realise that you have to walk the same amount that you have just walked all over again.”

The London to Brighton 100k challenge is Blind Veterans UK’s biggest annual fundraiser and takes participants from a starting point in south west London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity’s centre in Ovingdean, Brighton.

You can register your interest to take part in next year’s Blind Veterans UK 100k, at blindveterans.org.uk/100k.

Pip adds: “I would recommend this event to everyone, there is an amazing atmosphere and all the volunteers along the way keep you going.

“I’m not sure if I will walk the event next year but, if not, I would love to volunteer and show my support for Blind Veterans UK again.”

You can still support Pip in her fundraising efforts by donating at justgiving.com/Pip-Varley.