Alan attempted to walk 40 miles in a day to help send Bibles to Asia, and learnt some spiritual lessons along the way. Here is his account of the day.

I had walked almost 25 miles before, would it be possible for me to walk 40 miles in a day?

Preparation

I planned a route around the local lanes of Suffolk. I did a few training walks. I anticipated it would take 12 hours, and in training I had been out for up to six.

I knew the first two to three hours would be ok - it was not unusual for me to walk that kind of distance on a Saturday afternoon. But the longer walks always involved a blister somewhere! Would I last 12 hours?

Training walks had been in variable conditions, from very cold to extremely hot. I had trudged along wet roads and dry roads and experimented with differing footwear.

And then I was ready. Or as ready as I was going to be. Having changed the date a few times, I finally settled on Saturday April 28th, 2018.

A miserable day

I was up early, hitting the road at 7.05am. The weather was miserable. I told some people afterwards “It was cold and wet, so I went round in the car!” If only I could have done! 

Fundraiser walk rain

I had viewed the day as a physical challenge. I hadn’t considered a spiritual aspect, despite raising money for AsiaLink. Yet as I set out I said “Well Lord, it’s just you and me today”. 

Well Lord, it's just you and me today

The first hour was not at all pleasant. The prospect of having to keep going for so long was bothering me. Then, my walking boots, which kept my feet dry all winter, started to let water in. Not the start I had envisaged.

It was still raining into the second hour. And it wasn’t long before I had some discomfort. Something was rubbing under my toes. I really didn’t need an injury this early. With everything around me thoroughly wet it was not easy to stop and investigate. But I had to. Twice! 

I managed to stuff some cotton wool under the sore area and carry on. I was already thinking that 40 miles and 12 hours, in those conditions, was beyond me. By the end of the third hour I did at least feel that I was getting into the walk; I was then into the middle six hours.

Fundraiser walk church

Carried by the Lord

The rain eased. The discomfort did not! I thought about how much it costs Christians across Asia to get from place to place, and used that to motivate me to keep going.

I thought about how much it costs Christians across Asia to get from place to place

But I was also thinking about the embarrassment of failure, wondering when, or even if, I could find time to try again. “Lord, I know I said it’s just you and me today, but it needs to be more you than me” became my prayer.

And then it developed to “It’s all you, I’m just here to make the numbers up. You will have to carry me“. Somehow I stayed on schedule. Somehow I kept going, ever more conscious that it was my feet moving, but the Lord was enabling me.

You will have to carry me

The hours passed. I kept moving, eating and drinking on the move. At about nine hours I changed into some dry socks which my wife had suggested I pack. No easy feat when everything is wet!

A crossroads

At 11 hours I reached a crossroads. I could take a shortcut and head home. According to my Fitbit watch that would still get me beyond my 40 miles, so I could do it with a clear conscience.

But I didn’t. I stuck to the pre-planned route. “Lord, you have carried me this far, so I’m sure you are able to carry me the rest of the way”. 

And we did it! My body, His strength. I recorded 82,000 steps, and 45 miles! And 15 minutes under target. I was safely home. 

Fundraiser walk sky

I had expected to feel elated. It is quite an accomplishment. But I was left with a sense that I had not accomplished anything, that I could take no credit for it. I would not have completed the walk in my own strength.

The credit, as ever, goes to the Lord.

If you've been inspired by Alan's walk, why not consider fundraising for us, or donating to the Bibles for Asia fund?