Jubilant Jo completes her Ridgeway walk
Jo Fielder, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago, has beaten her unhelpful legs and succeeded in the challenge she set herself: to walk the whole length of the Ridgeway - that's 91 miles - in seven successive days.
Jo, who is 42 years old, told marlborough.news: "I used to run Cobbs Farm Shop in Hungerford and Fielders Farm Shop near Englefield. Earlier this year, after a turbulent couple of years which have caused intermittent problems with my legs, I decided I needed a challenge."
"I started at Overton Hill near Avebury on Saturday, June 10 and finished at Ivinghoe Beacon on Friday. During this time we have walked three marathons back to back and ridden a 13 mile stretch with Lambourn Riding for the Disabled Association and the chairman of the national RDA, on horseback."
With the weather warming up considerably, it was a good thing that the very last part of the walk was largely through the shade of beech woods - and then up onto the top of the downs where there was a lovely breeze. To ease off a bit, Jo had wanted to do a couple of short walks over the weekend, but it was just too hot.
"I did this not only as personal challenge, but also to raise funds for the Lambourn Riding for the Disabled Association and The MS Society. I also did it to raise awareness as this disease is so mis-understood."
"My husband Jake, 45, walked the whole thing with me and with online and offline donations we have raised almost £7,000 of our £10,000 target."
Former Olympic Athlete and Marlborough resident David Hemery CBE helped with training advice and also started the walk with them. Also Clare Balding came out to meet Jo and her husband and record an episode of her BBC Radio 4 programme Country Rambles.
"It took me five months to train for this challenge and there have been some dark days but I have come out the other side feeling better than I have for years. I can feel my legs properly again and I have more energy."
Jo Fielder writes a blog where you can find out more information. And her fundraising page is here.