Why we're taking on Sense's RidgeWalk challenge

19 June 2017

Walkers around the UK will descend on Britain's oldest road for Sense's RidgeWalk challenge this weekend.

Teams and individuals have chosen one of three challenges; a 13 mile walk in the afternoon, a 26 mile trek that kicks off at midnight, or for many, an ultramarathon that will see walkers tackling 52 miles in 24 hours. 

From personal connections to healthy goals, here's why seven people chose to walk for Sense.

Woman smiling holding hands in air whilst walking on path

Jade Whymark

Jade was inspired to undertake the 52 mile challenge, having witnessed the determination of a visually impaired student she studied with at the Royal Academy of Music. 

Jade says:

“I’m really excited about taking part in this year’s RidgeWalk for Sense. The charity is a great cause to be walking through the night for!

For training I’ve attempted a 26 mile walk which was pretty painful – 52-miles feels like it will be a very long way, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Two men at peak of mountain by sign that reads 'Pen Y Fan'

Mark Chadwick

Mark is taking on the epic 52 mile challenge as his close friend’s child is supported by Sense services.

This is the first time Mark has taken on an ultramarathon, and he hopes to lose four stone, as well as raise money for charity.

Mark said:

“I’m really excited about taking part in this year’s RidgeWalk for Sense. I know the reality of how much the charity supports children and adults with complex needs, and particularly the support that they offer to individual’s families.”

Smiling woman holding Sense collection tin

Carol’s team

Carol and her colleagues at Essex-based financial services company, International Financial Data Services, are taking on the 13 mile challenge as a team of five.

Carol says:

“It’s great to be able to take on challenges like this as a group of colleagues, and I think we’ll all be keeping each other’s morale up on the walk, particularly during the hours of darkness!”

Smiling man in peaked hat standing on edge of coast with sea behind him

Peter Kingsman

Peter was inspired to tackle the 52 mile challenge by his close friend who has lived with a degenerative eye condition since birth. 

Peter said:

“I’ve seen the challenges faced by people when they are losing, or have lost their sight, and I couldn’t imagine how isolating being deaf or blind must be.”


Two women running in bright green tshirts, one that reads 'Blind' the other reads 'Guide'

Linda Gaitskall

Linda - who is registered blind - and her friend, Victoria, will hike for 12 hours to complete the 26 mile challenge on the weekend.

Linda and Victoria met two years ago through Guide Running UK. Since then, they've developed a strong friendship and regularly go for runs in Regent’s Park, where Linda’s guide dog Kara gets to go for a swim!

Linda said:

“Victoria entered the event, and I decided that I wanted to do it with her; I just think that you have to try everything, and if you want to do something you have to put as much into it as possible. I think that the RidgeWalk will be a great challenge.”

Black and white artistic silhouette of two men walking in the mountains, one in front of the other

Mark McGowan

Mark, who’s a support worker at Sense College, will be taking on the 52 mile challenge. Mark’s no stranger to adventure, having guided deafblind mountaineer John Churcher up the famous Eiger mountain in Switzerland.

Mark said:

“I decided to take on the challenge of the RidgeWalk to fundraise for Sense so that they can continue to enable those with sensory impairments and complex needs to try new and exciting things.”

Three smiling women on walking path

Emma’s team

Emma and her colleagues at Suffolk-based facilities management company, Servest, will form two teams taking on the 52 and 26 mile challenge over the weekend.

Emma said:

“The teams participating have been training extensively to take part and has carried our numerous fundraising activities to raise money, to help make a difference.

I for one, can’t wait to participate!”

Feeling motivated to take on the RidgeWalk in 2018? Visit the RidgeWalk 2018 page to find out more.