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Mark Gayler, Andrew Gayler and Jon Edden take on Cotswold Way Challenge

All Areas > Sport > Walking

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Monday, 4th June 2018, 11:10

Mark Gayler Mark Gayler

Mark Gayler will be putting his best foot forward when he takes on the Cotswold Way Challenge at the end of next month.
For those who don’t know, the Cotswold Way Challenge is a 100km walk from Bath to Cheltenham, starting in the morning on Saturday 30th June and finishing around breakfast time on Sunday 1st July.
Gayler will be joined on the walk by his 22-year-old son Andrew and Jon Edden, who he has known since their Cheltenham Grammar School days and who is a neighbour in Leckhampton.
“It’s run by Action Challenge,” explained Gayler, 54. “They do seven of these longs walks across the country – there’s London to Brighton, the Chilterns. We’ll be walking the Cotswold Way.”
And while ‘going for a walk’ may sound quite easy, Gayler and his walking companions know it will be anything but.
“We’ll start off between 8 and 9 on the Saturday and should finish at about 7 to 8 on Sunday morning,” he said.
Gayler expects to walk at about 5km an hour and the extra time takes into account seven stopping points.
“There is a stopping point every 12 and a half kilometres to fill water bottles,” explained Gayler, “and you get food at 25, 50 and 75 kilometres. It’s well organised.
“We get sent out in groups of 250 every 20 minutes.”
Gayler’s wife Diana plans to be at the 50km stop at Wotton-under-Edge to provide support but Gayler, who played hockey for Cheltenham for more than 35 years, is not sure if she will be at Dean Close to see him cross the finish line.
“Hopefully I can get her out of bed,” he laughed.
Gayler, a solicitor, says that his training is going well even though it is not always easy to fit it in around work.
“It’s not easy to go for a long walk when you’re working,” he chuckled.
He completed the Three Peaks Challenge some 10 years ago, which covers around 37 miles, but this is a different test altogether.
However, it is one he is determined to pass.
“I will do it,” he said. “I’m not sure I can be confident about something like this but I will do it.
“I’ve sorted out my feet. A lot of people have to give up because of blisters and not for physical reasons. I think it will hurt a lot but that’s where the mental side comes in.
“At 2am in the morning it’s such a mental game. You’ve done 75km and you don’t want to put one foot in front of another.”
Driving Gayler on is the charity he is raising money for – Dementia UK.
It’s a cause close to his heart because his father Leonard, who was managing director of construction firm Kier Moss, suffered from dementia for many years before he died in 2005.
Meanwhile Andrew is raising money for the Survivors Trust – an umbrella charity for abuse charities – and Jon Edden is raising money for Parkinson’s UK.
To support Mark’s charity, visit www.justgiving/fundraising/mark-gayler; to support Andrew’s charity, visit www.justgiving/fundraising/andrew-gayler2; to support Jon’s charity, visit www.justgiving/fundraising/jon-edden

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