#96hourchallenge2022

This year’s #96hourchallenge may have been our toughest yet. The team battled through punctures, illness, and treacherous terrain to make it to London late on Sunday night.

Day One

Seven men, joined by our CEO Simon, set off at 6am on Thursday morning and travelled south along the canals. Our first stop was in Trentham, where one of our resident’s parents treated us to a cup of tea.

The team followed the canals onto Stone. At that point, they were hungry and ready for a rest, so prayed for breakfast to be provided. Within twenty minutes they were sat in Bod in Stone. The amazing staff at Bod blessed the guys with toast and an assortment of jams, butter, and honey. They left with full bellies and hot drinks in hand ready to tackle the next ­stretch.

Through the morning the team made their way past Stone and Stafford, stopping again for a rest around the thirty-mile mark. The guys stopped at Canalside Farm who treated the team to bacon and sausage butties. With full bellies and a positive attitude, they set off again with the intention of reaching the Coventry canals by night.

The team had a great morning, but the afternoon brought new challenges as one of the team began to struggle with an injured knee, he had to be supported walking by two men. The heavens opened and the guys made the difficult decision to split the team. Four men walked behind with a bad knee and two bikes with punctures while the other four moved forward in search of shelter. The canals became too dark to walk, so they moved onto a road running parallel.

Simon knocked the door and said ‘Hello, this is going to be the most random conversation ever…’

Peter and Sheila, an amazing Christian couple took the team in. They let the guys rest and shower at their house and even cooked them a lasagne. Feeling very blessed and blown away by the generosity of these strangers the team rested up and prepared for day two.

Day Two

The team started the second day with more blessings from Peter and Sheila. The guys woke up warm and feeling rested, but before we set off we were given a breakfast of jam and clotted cream!

Shortly after setting off, the team discovered nineteen punctures across the bikes. Not only were the canal paths wet and muddy, but it also turns out they were covered with small twigs from bushes that had been trimmed.

The team stopped to fix punctures

It was a long morning of cycling and fixing punctures (over thirty by mid-day!) that the team had to push through.

Sam, a friend of Walk Ministries, contacted us and said she would come and meet the team with food, no matter where they were. She found the guys in the early afternoon and gave each man a brew. This gave them the encouragement to carry on down the tough canals.

The team got to the halfway point where they found a pub, although they said they couldn’t help, they did let the guys fill up their water bottles. Feeling slightly deflated, they made their way into Nuneaton and prayed for provisions (specifically a Chinese takeaway). They spoke to some of the locals who paid for a Chinese takeaway and ate their food beside a campfire they built.

It was a rough day, the guys cycled over sixty miles and dealt with over forty-six punctures, but still went to sleep feeling happy and blessed.

Day Three

The team woke the next morning beside their campfire and tried to dry off some of their wet clothes before setting off again.

Their first blessing of the day was meeting a man called Peter, he was waiting for his ducks, but blessed the guys with a cup of tea and some fruit for their breakfast.

They set off again, but the muddy tracks took their toll on the bikes and soon enough, they were two bikes down. One had a bent axel and the other’s bearings had gone. So, the guys walked ten miles into the nearest town to find a bike shop. There, the team met Oscar and Oscar and explained their predicament. Knowing that they could not give them any payment, Oscar and Oscar jumped into action to help fix the bikes. Once again, the team set off encouraged by the kindness of strangers.

After a positive morning, the day took a turn, and the team faced the hardest afternoon of the challenge.

One of the team members had become seriously ill. The mixture of cold, tiredness, and intense exercise had taken a toll on his body and the guys made the decision that it would be unsafe for him to carry on.

Again, a tough decision was made to split the team. Half moved forward in search of shelter for the night, while the rest of the guys stayed with him to make sure he was safe until a member of our team came to pick him up.

The guys were cold, wet and feeling disheartened. They took cover from the pouring rain under a bridge where they prayed for shelter, so that they could rest and make it to the end the next day. We were once again blessed as a friend of Walk Ministries, Mark Bracewell from Blinded Faith told us that he had booked the team into a local Premier Inn.

Day Four

The team woke up feeling ready to take on the last day of the challenge. It was always going to be a tough day with around eighty miles to go, but the end was in sight. They made the most of the breakfast buffet at the hotel and set off early. The guys moved in faith by choosing to stray from the planned route along the muddy canal paths in favour of cycling on the roads in the hope that the bikes would hold up better.

Shortly after setting off, the team could tell that the bikes needed some attention. They prayed for a jet wash and some oil for their chains. While cycling through a housing estate, the team met a man washing his caravan. He let them spray the mud off our bikes while he went into his garage. He popped back out a couple of moments later with oil for bike chains. With clean bikes the team began the long cycle to London, knowing that they had a lot of ground to make up.

Not long down the road, Simon’s chain snapped. So, into the nearest town they went to find some help. The team pushed Simon along on his bike for around two miles until they found a Halfords. They prayed for a new chain and Kyran, a Halfords employee, said yes and helped fit a new chain onto the bike.

The blessings just kept rolling in. The guys powered on and by mid-day reached Northampton where they were fed Fish Finger Butties by Leanne at The Queen Eleanor. Two hours later, they met a lady named Carrie who made them a brew while they briefly rested. On the very last stretch, Warbler on the Wharf blessed us with hot chocolates while Desy takeaway in Milton Keynes gave us kebabs.

At 11pm, the team reached Park Lane in London. They were tired, aching, and ready for home, but they made it.

The #96hourchallenge 2022 is complete.

The links below will take you to our fundraising pages which will be open until the 31st December 2022.  Please continue to donate and help us reach our target. We will be using this to feed 100 people this Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day as 

You can donate via our facebook fundraiser here:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/851620705838656/

You can donate via our website here:

Thank You.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Walk Ministries.