The 2017 event was a sell-out success, so would-be walkers are being urged to sign up as soon as possible so as not to miss out on a place on this year’s walk.
The walk, which will take place on Saturday, 17 March in Exeter, will follow a new 7-mile route starting and ending at the Double Locks canal-side pub. To keep spirits high there will be live entertainment and refreshments along the way.
Following the walk, participants will enjoy a pint and a pasty and settle into our newly enlarged marquee to watch – fittingly, on St Patrick’s Day – England play Ireland in the Six Nations rugby tournament.
Organiser Sharon Ewart said: “This year’s Men’s Walk was so popular that places sold out, so we’re encouraging everyone to sign up early for next year’s event. In fact, if you sign up before 9 February we’ll enter your name into a draw with the chance of winning tickets to an Exeter Chiefs game at Sandy Park.
“The 2018 Men’s Walk promises to be our best yet, and it would be fantastic if we could beat this year’s total raised. Some 650 amazing walkers raised the huge sum of £42,000 to support Hospiscare’s work.
“Whatever our walkers achieve, they can be assured of a great time. The walk always generates tremendous camaraderie, and past years’ walkers tell us that it’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
“Sign up now for the Men’s Walk 2018 by clicking here, or by calling Hospiscare’s fundraising office on 01392 688020. Facebook users can join the Men’s Walk event on the Hospiscare page for updates on plans for what’s set to once again be a great ‘make a difference’ day,” Sharon added.
Men’s Walk is kindly sponsored once again by Wilkinson Grant.
Hospiscare provides free, specialist care for adults with any kind of terminal illness, and support for their carers and families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity for generations to come.
When Jack Carter, age 76, saw a Hospiscare Men’s Walk 2017 leaflet at the Citizens’ Advice Exeter office, he was keen to sign up. The Men’s Walk would go from Double Locks to Turf Hotel and back again, and at the end there would be a pint and a pasty waiting along with a Six Nations Rugby game on the big screen. But Jack decided against joining in because he thought no one would sponsor him, and the whole point of the event was to raise money for local charity Hospiscare.
Then, on a daily walk recommended by his doctor ever since a heart attack in 2006, he had a change of thinking.
Jack says: “I decided to do the Men’s Walk in memory of my wife, Jan. When Jan wasn’t getting better an oncology nurse at the RD&E recommended we get in touch with Hospiscare. Then our family doctor said ‘if you can keep Jan at home it’s far better’, so we made an appointment to meet a Hospiscare Community Nurse.”
Community Nurse Specialist, Janet Mackay, became the Carter’s regular Hospiscare Nurse, going to their home and helping Jack and Jan get through some very dark days, supporting them with medical issues and also lending a kind ear.
“The back-up was wonderful. Janet was so nice, she has a knack of getting you to open up and talk – it gets it off your chest. Jan thought she was wonderful too, although her name caused a lot of confusion in our house - too many ‘Janets’!”
So with the fond memories of both Janet and Jan, it was easy for Jack to change his mind and register for the Men’s Walk: “It was 8 miles, all on the flat. I thought ‘this’ll be a piece of cake’, and I would be doing it for my wonderful wife.”
But Jack was still worried about not knowing anyone to sponsor him and he’d never done any fundraising before. “So I jotted down the names of my friends and family and asked each of them ‘Will you please sponsor me?’ and told them why I was doing it, which went well. Then I asked at Citizens’ Advice Exeter where I volunteer and had such a good response. So many of my colleagues sponsored me that before I knew it I had raised £1,050!”
Jack says he enjoyed the Men’s Walk immensely: “I felt proud to raise so much money for my wonderful wife – it’s a very, very good cause. Not only that, I somehow teamed up with another walker who was about my age, so I made a friend on the day too!”
There is such a variety of people supporting Hospiscare, Jack Carter is one of many special people who help keep the services running and developing.
To sign up for this year's Men's Walk on 17th March, click on the link below:
Hospiscare is a local adult hospice charity, providing free, high quality care and support to people with any type of terminal illness, and those close to them, in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity in Devon for generations to come.
An event like this involves a lot of volunteers to ensure it runs smoothly, and amongst the helping hands this year is a local legend, retired race walker and Major Championship athletics commentator, Olympian Chris Maddocks.
Chris, 60 from Rackenford, Tiverton is part of an exclusive club, as only a tiny percentage of the world’s population get chosen to represent their country in the Olympic Games. An even smaller percentage get chosen to compete in five consecutive summer Olympics - Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and finally Sydney 2000. Incidentally, it could have been six, but political issues prevented Chris from competing in the 1980 Moscow games.
Chris commented: “I don’t put myself above anyone else just because I’m an Olympian. I am really happy to be helping on the day and will do whatever is required in a volunteering capacity. I know people in our community who have been supported by Hospiscare and it’s a very worthy cause.
As a youngster Chris had a tenacious attitude towards sport and from primary school age wanted to know how far he could run. He did his first marathon at just 10 years old. He cried when, at 13 years old, he was refused entry to the Tiverton Youth Centre 50 miler as he was deemed too young to do it. He was allowed to join in when he was 14 and came fourth. He subsequently did it every year up until he won it twice, aged 18 and 19.
Chris was a regular runner with Tiverton Harriers and ran for the county. His first introduction to race walking was during his three years as a Tiverton sea cadet. Aged 14 he competed in multi-sport competition that included a one mile race walk which he won. A few weeks later he was late for a 1500 metres track race at Yeovil so got put into the men's 5000m walking race instead. He finished 4th and was encouraged to start concentrating on race walking as his natural talent for it shone through.
During his athletics career he never had the support or funding that professional sports men and women benefit from now. He did his training on a shoestring budget and didn’t get the opportunity to train at altitude, which is the norm for endurance athletes these days. But race walking gave Chris the opportunity to travel the world. He met his personal hero, Muhammad Ali, the Queen and numerous other royals and celebrity sports people.
When asked what his most memorable race was, alongside the races where he set records or competed against the world’s elite athletes, Chris recalls the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
“Leading up to Sydney I was in the best shape of my life, but seven weeks before flying out I tore a buttock muscle and it wasn’t going to heal in time. I have never dropped out of a major race, there was no one else qualified to take my place, and it was going to be my last Olympics so I went anyway.
“Right from the start of the 50km I was in trouble. I was really hurting, it was the hottest day of the games so far and I wanted to pull out. The whole race was the most painful and miserable experience. I was far behind the rest of the field and expected that when I got to the stadium everyone would have gone home. But as I entered 100,000 people were waiting and the noise in the stadium was incredible. I nearly fell to pieces, it was so emotional, my legs turned to jelly. The crowd started to sing the Proclaimers ‘500 miles’ and it turned out be the most unexpected, amazing finish to my career.
“It catapulted me into the limelight for a time and I got treated like I’d won gold. I got upgraded on the flight home and sat with some of the gold medallists in the VIP seats. At Buckingham Palace there was a reception for the athletes and I was asked to lead a team of sports men and women and introduce them to the Queen.
“Although I was the last man in that race and it took me nearly an hour longer than my qualifying time, the support and atmosphere in that stadium was out of this world.”
So what advice would Chris give to this year’s participants of the Men’s Walk?
“I’d say if you’re not used to walking, get out with the dog and go a bit further than you usually do as part of your training. Eat sensibly on the day before you walk, get some carbs on board, drink plenty of fluids and enjoy the camaraderie.
“You’re doing the walk for an incredibly worthy cause, it’s not ultra-competitive and it’s got a reputation for being a really sociable occasion. It’s the sort of event where friendships are made. The location is lovely and the sporty finish of watching rugby in the marquee at the end makes it feel like a big wedding.
Men’s Walk is kindly sponsored once again by Wilkinson Grant.
Hospiscare is a local adult hospice charity, providing high quality care and support to people with any type of life-limiting illness, and those close to them, in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity in Devon for generations to come.
Hundreds of men will be putting their best foot forward for Hospiscare this month in the 2018 Men’s Walk. Tempted by the promise of live entertainment along the seven mile route with a free pasty and a pint while they watch the England v Ireland Six Nations rugby afterwards, walkers have made this a sell-out event again.
Stalwart supporters of the Men’s Walk, Wilkinson Grant & Co, are once again the headline sponsors. Managing Director Roger Wilkinson said: “Wilkinson Grant & Co are delighted to sponsor the Hospiscare Men’s Walk for what is, for us, the fifth year in a row. In that time we are proud to have helped make the Men’s Walk such a great success and to become what is now - a fantastic community event that hundreds of people look forward to each year.
“Hospiscare do such valuable work benefiting so many people in our community and we are only too pleased to help them raise much-needed funds in such an enjoyable way. This year’s event is set to be the biggest and best yet – what better way to spend a day? Walk, beer, pasty and England – with a number of Exeter Chiefs – playing Ireland in The Six Nations!”
This year, local business The Exeter Brewery Ltd is kindly supplying the free pints. Alan Collyer, the brewery’s MD, said: “Both of my parents were looked after by Exeter Hospice and so I have seen first-hand what a fantastic job they do. As the owner of Exeter Brewery it’s a privilege to be in a position to help local causes and the Men’s Walk is a great way to raise awareness about Hospiscare and promote men’s health. What better way for us to support the event than to provide a free pint of Avocet or Ferryman for each of the guys as they finish their seven mile walk?”
Stalite Signs Ltd have again supplied the charity’s event promotional materials free of charge and entered a team of walkers and provided volunteer marshals. Managing Director Nigel Bolt said: “I didn’t give it a second thought when asked if I wanted to continue donating the promotional materials to Hospiscare. A great caring charity that deserves all our support.”
Chunk of Devon will once again be supplying their delicious steak and vegetarian pasties for the walkers, and local matchmaking service, Pi Society, are also supporting the event.
Hospiscare provides outstanding specialist care for adults with terminal illnesses, and support for their carers and families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity for generations to come.
There's limited free parking at the Double Locks pub and at Bromhams Farm Playing Fields. We suggest that you car share and use either on-road parking in Marsh Barton, or the Matford Park and Ride.