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Can you be my Support?

The Cateran Yomp and my role as support crew for my friend Melissa Atkin.
"I know I definitely want to do it again. I was thinking of a strategy to keep my feet dry, and want to go again with a competitive mindset"

When my friend Melissa asked me to be part of this weekend trip to support her; I really had no idea what was expected of me. In my mind this was a little weekend away to meet some new people, have a little fun and a mini break. I knew we were headed to Scotland, I knew I would love the scenery and that this alone would recharge my batteries that had been running on empty sometime. I knew that I was keen to start living again having spent so long engrossed in trying to get my business off the ground. I have to admit I hadn't quite realised just how much I really would get out of this incredibly valuable and extremely rewarding experience.

In my full time role as a massage therapist I give a lot of myself, my caring nature, my time and effort and my desire to send clients away feeling better than when they arrived, so giving Mel my full support was an extension of this process, and seeing her come through every check point 30 minutes + ahead of schedule looking pleased to see me was the best return I could want on this adventure.
This was a sponsored walk, 54 miles in 24 hours across the rugged terrain of Scotland in June of this year, raising money for ABF The Soldiers Charity. There were 3 girls in this team and 3 of us acting as support crew, myself and 2 guys I had never met before with whom I spent the next 24 hours (almost) in a car, driving round Perth to meet our walkers at every checkpoint. We dropped them off at the start in the rainy muddy conditions and it was at that point I realised that as the support crew, we were now officially on duty until the finish, no sleep till….hmm had to wait and see about that!
Melissa and I had become friends through our Kick Boxing Club, and when I started out as a Personal Trainer Mel was one of my original Clients. We pair up well in class, Mel is more confident in learning and memorising combinations and performs well under pressure, where I lack a little confidence under pressure, or the thought that I am being observed. It is during sparring that I come into my own. When we spar I let rip and I encourage her to respond to her best. It's a great partnership and one that we both mutually respect.Neither Mel nor I had done this before and neither of us had any expectations of each other. All I could think from the second she set off was that I couldn't wait to see her at the first check point and hear all about her experience thus far. So there she was, beaming a huge smile, I immediately set about my duties, swapping out food resources, emptying the rubbish out of her bag, wrapping a towel round her shoulders, making sure fresh socks and items of clothing were to hand for a quick freshen up, and ready to set off again. We were instantly in tune with each other and worked like a well-oiled machine. I was super proud and this was only the first checkpoint!
"It was brilliant how you were telling me to take some more food and checking I had enough water, it made sure I didn't forget anything and let me focus on the job at hand"

The beautiful even if grey and rainy back drop of Scotland kept me feeling alive enough to stay strong into the early hours where I actually managed to stay awake to go meet my girl at the finish, such was the plan. I am not one for successfully staying awake much beyond 12am so holding on till the end was probably my finest achievement!

There were sometimes hours with no phone signal and only rough estimations to know when she might be due, yet at every stop we were in tune and I was there like a proud sister, ready to give my support for this honorable and challenging task super Mel had set herself. She'd already achieved her black belt with strong mental preparation, and her goals for the year were already coming in to play.

"Everything was right for me, I had prepared just enough, I had the right support crew, I remained positive mentally knowing I would finish it and have fun doing it"

So what did I get out of this experience that kept me awake longer than any social occasion could?

The tremendously rewarding experience of knowing that my friend achieved one of her personal goals and that not only had I been there to see it, I was a part of that powerful stride with timings that she smashed at every checkpoint, while the others on her team fell further and further behind. The bond of knowing that we kept each other going throughout the night. In Mels own words:

"The way you took my stuff off and towel dried me. I didn't think I needed that but just having you take care of me without me asking meant I wasn't worried at all setting out on the next leg. Each time I was within 2 miles of the next checkpoint I got excited about my hug"

As I sit here writing this blog I still feel my heart swelling with pride and emotion and this is a role I would do time and time again if Mel asked. I highly recommend it to anyone who's been asked by a friend or a loved one to take this opportunity to be a support, the reward I feel will stay with me for an extremely long time, I was honoured to have been asked to fill such a vital role, honoured that she put her faith in me. For those 24 hours or so, I was Mickey to my Rocky.

"A good support crew is Marina, asking the right questions, telling me the right stuff and taking care of me with your hugs encouragement and positive attitude. Honestly wouldn't have stayed as positive and on the track without you in my corner"

Though I didn't greet her at the finish due to technical difficulties with the site and a consideration for the other two support members, the moment she met us in the Tescos car park was by far the most amazing reward I could want for.


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