"Champions are not the ones who always win races - champions are the ones who get out there and try."- Simon Sinek
It was during a bravado-fuelled conversation that inspiration struck and the idea was conceived. Who's up for a challenge? Who wants to see how far they can push themselves? Who wants to raise money for a worthy charity? Who wants to march from Weymouth to Folk HQ over the course of three days along the South West Coastal Path?
In a surprisingly resounding display of solidarity nearly everyone at Folk agreed to take part. This was the beginning of one of the toughest physical and mental challenges some of us had ever faced.
Have purpose and make a difference
During the build-up we chose our charity. Julia's House, the only children's hospice in Dorset, does some fantastic work taking care of terminally ill children and their families. They provide a safe, happy environment for children while allowing much needed respite for their families. When the worst happens they offer emotional and practical support at the end of a child’s life. We challenged ourselves to raise a total of £1000, which we smashed by raising over £1800.
"Is this actually happening, are we really doing this?" - Jon Syrett
The plans were finalised, the training was complete, and the kit was gathered. Friday the 27th June came around all too quickly. The clock struck 12, and the team of 14 intrepid developers, designers, managers and directors ventured forth to Branksome train station.
Looks of anguish were exchanged as rain began to fall from the grey Dorset sky. The train arrived and the first few tentative footsteps fell on Weymouth's sun drenched station. With spirits lifted by the unexpected sunshine the walk began.
Have fun, make connections
During the first day, the rolling hills of the South West coastal path seemed to drift by; the team merrily chatting, taking in the beautiful views. 10.1 miles later we arrived at a Durdle Door Holiday Park. The next morning we departed on the second leg of our journey. Relentless tumultuous hills were the order of the day. The first few miles set the precedent for the remaining 18.3 mile journey as we powered up and staggered down the undulating coastline.
After 11 hours on our feet we completed the full distance and stumbled into Tom's field campsite, Langton Matravers. After refuelling on South African BBQ (or Bri) food we collapsed into bed ready for the final stage of our journey on Sunday. As the first few walkers slowly emerged from their tents it became apparent that the final stage of the journey was going to truly test the resolve of the team.
Believe in the impossible
"It's like walking on razor blades and broken glass" - John Tilley
Most of the team started day three with blisters, some had blisters on top of blisters, others had blisters instead of feet. However, after a hearty breakfast of porridge, bacon butties and fruit the team once again donned their packs, laced our boots and ventured out for the final 17 mile stretch of coastal path. Bright sunshine relented to lashing rain as the day drew on.
By the time we reached Studland most of the team were exhausted, spurred on by the knowledge that we were so close to the end.
"Pain is temporary, glory is forever" - Dan Jones
At 6:30pm on Sunday we all crossed the finish line, together, as a team. For a moment, as the realisation of our accomplishment set in, the aches and pains gave way to sense of elation and achievement.
Once the aches and pains have died away we will be left the memories of the things we've been through together, the team work, the camaraderie and the glorious success, and the fulfilling knowledge that our efforts will have a lasting effect on the poorly children and their families at Julia's House.
Thanks so much to everyone for their support, and of course, to all the walkers for their unbreakable resolve. Together, we’ve made a huge difference.