Moonwalk 2011 – two weeks on

27th May 2011:

So, two weeks after the 2011 MoonWalk.  This was my third MoonWalk and my first HalfMoon (13 miles).


Still not sure whether I enjoyed it or not!  Once again, I found the start of the walk quite stressful.  Those walking the 26 miles are asked to arrive 7.45pm – 8.30pm, with the HalfMoon walkers arriving between 8.30pm and 9pm.  But this does mean that you could be hanging around for another up to 4 hours before your group starts the Walk.


Hyde Park is the start/finish of the event and the big pink tent is an impressive sight (see photos).  This year I tried to arrive slightly later (9.40pm) and then collect my pre-ordered savoury rice snack, find a quiet corner to read my paper.   I couldn’t even see the food counter at first and when I did find it, I couldn’t get anywhere near it.  The tent was packed with walkers sheltering from the cold wind and the queue for the food was ridiculously long.  Those who had collected their food were struggling to get back out of the queue.  There was a lot of pushing and shoving and I’m afraid that this set the tone for the rest of the evening.


Not surprisingly, I gave up on the food.  My biggest problem was that I couldn’t find the water station!  (Eventually I saw two volunteers, walking around, handing out bottles of water – this was about 11pm)

Luckily, I had a flask of coffee with me so had a quick cuppa before putting my bag in the baggage tent before 10.15pm.


I spent the two hours before my group – Pink – started off, just wandering about, taking photos and chatting to several people, swapping stories and comparing the evening to last year’s Moonwalk.


When we finally got there, the Pink start was chaos with lots of people pushing in, elbowing others out of the way.  We set off at midnight and everything was fine until we reached the Whitehall.  There is usually a bit of congestion at this point as we have to cross the road using the Pelican crossings and it can take a while getting 15,000 walkers across, even at 1am!  There seemed to be quite a lot of pushing in by the walkers behind me and I was feeling crushed.   Almost as soon as we got across Whitehall we were stopped again by sheer numbers of people, again trying to cross a busy main road.


This “stop – start” continued for miles, much longer that last year, and from the comments on the WalktheWalk website forum, many people found it very difficult to cope with.  Everyone was frustrated and feeling the cold.   At one point, at around 9 miles, I think, (certainly on the Southbank – and on the way home for me!) we were trying to get past a line of bollards and the lady in front of me didn’t see the bollard until the last moment.  She swerved around it and I stopped to let her move in front of me, only to be barged out of the way by someone pushing her way through the slower walkers!  She wasn’t the only one ….


The lack of toilets was another issue.  There are usually toilets at around Mile 7 – a long line of portaloos!  This year, no portaloos.   Again, from reading the various posts on the website this was an big issue for lots of people.  The main portaloos were at Mile 10 – but the queues were so long, I decided to give it a miss as I would have been back at Hyde Park before I got to the front of the queue.


And water stations?   I saw one at St James’ Park (which you pass on the way out and on the way back) and another at Mile 10.  And that was it.


Will I be doing the Moonwalk next year?  Not sure.  Certainly won’t be doing the Full Moon again.  The later start and the stop-start of the first 8 miles meant that it took me 4hrs 40mins to do 13 miles.  At the rate, it would take me around 10 hours to do 26 miles.  I couldn’t face that.


In the Shed


Pink tent - around 11pm


Pink tent - see the flags? Very windy!


Crowd outside the tent


Me crossing the start line (note the time)


En route (about 9 mile)


4am - nearly finished


The pink tent (5am) back at Hyde Park. Finally finished & heading home.


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