EVENT RECAP: 2014 Capital Challenge Walk MS 50k
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
This past weekend, I joined my best friend Stephanie, our friend Jovonne and Stephanie’s siblings in walking 50k for the Capital Challenge Walk MS! Each year, hundreds of people raise money for MS research, services and programs and embark on a 50k walk through the DMV in honor of those living with MS.
Stephanie and her siblings walked two years ago so I had an idea of what the walk would be like, but I don’t think anyone is really prepared to walk 50k! Here’s how the 2 day 50k walk went down…
Day 1: 20 Miles
On Saturday, September 20th we all gathered in Chevy Chase, MD to being our walk at 8:30am. What is great about the walks is that everyone can go at their own pace. So along the way, you can stop and take pictures of various sites and talk to other walkers. There were also volunteers driving up and down the street cheering us on and available in case anyone needed a ride to the next rest stop.
After walking about 3.1 miles, we made it to the first rest stop in Rock Creek Park. There were 8 rest stops on Day 1; each stop provided walkers with the opportunity to take a break, use the restroom, eat snacks (or take them with us) and stock up on water and/or Powerade. It was essential that we stay hydrated!
After the first rest stop, our walk led us to the National Zoo! It was nice to check out some of the animals, but the Zoo was really crowded so we didn’t stay for an extended period of time. It was more of a look at all of the animals in passing. Following the Zoo, we made it to the second rest stop which was a pirate theme. Each rest stop was hosted by a different group, so they all had themes.
Following the second stop, we continued our walk which led us past the National Cathedral and Embassy Row. It was a gorgeous day to view all of the embassies. After 10 miles it was time for a lunch break! At this point, I think we were all starting to become sore. I know my hip flexors HURT, but I was determined to complete those 20 miles!
Lunch ended and we were back on the trail! The next 5 miles took us through Dupont Circle, past the White House, around the National Monument and along the Tidal Basin which was absolutely gorgeous. We walked past the Jefferson Memorial and made our way to Georgetown.
Georgetown was the last stop in DC. It was time to cross the Key Bridge and head to Virginia. Stephanie had mentioned two years ago she hit a wall around mile 16 and once we reached Virginia, I think I hit that wall too. The last 1-2 miles in Virginia seemed like it took FOREVER to walk! It was hard and painful, but we pushed through.
For this two day challenge, walkers had the option to stay at the middle school which was our final destination for Day 1 or a local hotel. We opted for the hotel! After showering, changing and returning back to the school for dinner, the night ended with a very touching candlelight ceremony. Those living with MS or family and friends had an opportunity to tell their story. It really was an opportunity to bring us all together and remind us that we’re all in the fight to cure MS together!
Day 2: 10 Miles
Day 2 was a little rough because we were all so sore from Day 1! We left the middle school, walked through Rosslyn and headed back to DC. Once we made it back into the city, the terrain was pretty flat which made for an easier time walking. We walked passed Arlington National Cemetery, went over the Memorial Bridge and passed the Lincoln Memorial.
We were in the heart of the tourist area! We also walked by the Korean War Memorial, MLK Memorial and made our way near the National Mall where the final rest stop was located; that was the last refueling stop! The pain was real but knew we didn’t have too much longer to go. After the final rest stop, we walked the final one mile to our lunch location. One thing I loved about our group is that we allowed everyone to walk at their own pace but didn’t allow too much distance between all of us. We continuously checked on each other and ended both days together as one, the Educated MSfits!
Lunch lasted for about 45 minutes. Afterwards, ALL walkers gathered to walk the final few blocks together to the U.S. Capital where we received our medals for finishing! We also learned that our team captain Stephanie won an award and will receive it at the awards ceremony in November!!
Despite the expected soreness, I had a great time over the course of two days! And our team raised over $13,000; surpassing our $7,000 goal and the $10,000 the team raised two years ago. For many, it probably just looks like we walked for two days. But for me and so many others, it was an honor to walk 50k for those living with MS, including our Stephanie. We did it for her and joined others in raising thousands of dollars to get one step closer to a cure! It’s an experience I will never forget and a challenge I would do again! There are some teams who do this walk every year; there is definitely a sense of family among the walkers.
Special thanks to the National Capital Chapter of the National MS Society. They definitely make you feel like you’re a part of a special community on this two day journey. And the volunteers were amazing! Us walkers wouldn’t have been able to make it without their support!