Wellingborough woman's 'End to End' walk for charity

The single mother-of-three has completed 874 miles since January

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 7:00 am
Gwen Mtambirwa of Wellingborough

A Wellingborough woman has walked 874 miles in less than three months for charity.

Despite being a mother-of-three and working full-time, Gwen Mtambirwa has managed to complete the virtual Lands End to John O'Groats challenge.

She started on January 1 and hit her personal target of finishing it by Easter, walking an average of 9.4 miles a day.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Gwen completed the challenge in 82 days, walking on 79 of those, with 83 walks covering 615 miles outside and 69 walks covering 258 miles on the treadmill.

The challenge has seen her walk through 38 towns, villages and hamlets in and around Wellingborough, visit 40 Church of England churches and spot 39 different types of bird as well as 13 different types of animal.

Gwen told the Northants Telegraph: "At the start of lockdown I got out quite a bit but then it got to getting out once a week so I thought I need to get out walking again and combine it with this challenge."

She has been out come rain or shine, including below freezing temperatures with the wind chill factor making it feel more like -7C.

But she has loved being able to explore the beautiful countryside in and around where she lives, including visiting places she's never been to before and seeing many of the county's beautiful churches.

She said: "One of my most fond walks was at the end of January when it snowed, I did 12 or 13 miles that day."

And she added: "There's these lovely hidden gems that I just didn't know about like Finedon Pocket Park, I didn't know this lovely little park was just 45 minutes from me."

The Northamptonshire Walks website has helped with route suggestions, and Gwen added: "There is so much inspiration on there with so many beautiful villages and towns with so much history."

Gwen has been taking photographs while on her walks and has treated herself to a new camera to ensure she never misses the perfect shot.

To see more of her pictures from the past three months, click here.

She has loved the challenge and said: "It's been really lovely and I have re-found my love for walking."

So far the challenge has raised £1,400.

The money will be split between USPG, an Anglican mission agency supporting churches around the world in their mission to bring fullness of life to the communities they serve.

Their work includes improving health, tackling poverty, putting children in school, challenging discrimination, and giving a voice to women.

Gwen's other chosen charity is Restored, a charity which provides training and resources for Christians/churches to end domestic abuse.

She said: "I finished this challenge and signed up for Route 66, which is 2,278 miles and you can cycle for that one.

"I have signed my 13-year-old up for it so we are racing across America, but he can do a lot further than me on the exercise bike."

Gwen's sons have supported her during the challenge, including cooking dinner while she is clocking up the miles and congratulating her on completion of it.

She said: "They all said congratulations and gave me a hug, but they do think I'm slightly mad!"