Mike Tomlinson Talks Walking In The Peak

Organiser of the second Peak District Walk for All event, Mike Tomlinson, talks to OM about


Posted: 22 April 2013
by Lissa Cook

Mike Tomlinson in walking mode. Picture courtesy of the Yorkshire Post.
Lose Hill and Mam Tor, two of the highlights of the Peak District Walk For Alll event this coming weekend. Image: Karen Frenkel
The ancient monument of Hope Cross on the Roman Road high above Edale, missing capstone now replaced. Image: Karen Frenkel.

This coming Sunday 28 April is the date of the second Peak District Walk for All event, a 25-mile charity trek across the National Park organised by Mike Tomlinson, widower of endurance athlete and charity cancer fundraiser Jane Tomlinson and Trustee of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

Lissa Cook, hard in training for the walk herself talked to Mike for Active Derbyshire and OM about his top walking tips, why Castleton’s his favourite place to walk and why walking 25 mile is harder than running a marathon.

You can find out more about the walk and the work of the the Jane Tomlinson Appeal's sports event arm For All Events at www.forallevents.co.uk/walk-for-all/events/peak-district.

Q The sports events arm of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal 'For All Events' started out organising running races.  Why did you start the Walks for All?

I can’t lie – it’s because I like walking.  I run a business on my whims!  [Laughs]  Though I don’t get out and walk as much as I’d like to.  I think walking is vastly underrated.  Because it’s called ‘walking’ it sounds very tame but the 25 mile ‘Peak District Walk for All’ is a challenge – it’s really hard.  In fact, I’d say it’s harder than a marathon.  But it’s incredibly satisfying. 

Q What makes it such a hard challenge?

It’s because you’re out on your feet for such a long period of time.  It’s as simple as that.  If weren’t used to working on a shop floor and you had to do a 12 hour stint in on your feet you’d be aching.  People train for a marathon and it consumes their lives but people don’t really train for a walk. Q So where's your favourite place to walk in the UK and in particular in Derbyshire?

I like Castleton, which is why the walk starts there.  It sounds twee but it was Jane’s favourite place.  Though I live in Leeds, it’s actually closer for us than the Yorkshire Dales. Q What are your top tips for anyone thinking of tackling a long-distance walking challenge like your Peak District Walk? Comfortable shoes, a nice pair of socks and plenty to drink.  Oh, and a beer as soon as you get to the finish!

Q For anyone who's not a walker but would like to start walking or who is inexperienced, is the Peak District Walk an achievable goal?  

I wouldn’t dream of running a marathon without having training but I would happily set off and walk the Three Peaks tomorrow and then wonder why it hurt the next day.

People do think ‘I can do that’ until you’ve got tennis ball sized blisters.  If you’ve not walked before, don’t even think about doing the 25 mile route but the 14 mile Hope and Glory walk is achievable.  You’ll still have the satisfaction of having done a good walk.  The 25 mile Dambuster Route is for those who know what to expect and have done a 12 miler already.  [There’s also a circular, flatter 5 mile Mini-Trekker walk along peaceful paths which is perfect for families.]

Q Jane was renowned for her amazing achievements like cycling across the US and doing triathlons and you've done some pretty gruelling events yourself like your Hull-London-Paris epic last year.  [Mike Tomlinson and his daughter Rebecca ran the Paris and London marathons completing six days of cycle rides between the two events to cover a total of 650 miles to mark the 10th anniversary of the first time his wife Jane completed the London marathon].  From your own experience, how important is it, both mentally and physically, to set yourself a goal or a challenge like completing one of the Walks for All?

I need a challenge.  Given a chance on a Sunday I’d stay in bed until dinner and get fat and lazy!  It also clears my head.  I’m a computer programmer and can spend hours on writing code and trying solve a bit of IT code and not get it.  But if I go out for a run, the answer will suddenly come to me.   When I can’t train because of injury or work I become suddenly very irascible.  I could fight myself in an empty room.  I definitely need the endorphins.

Q So what’s the next challenge for you?

I’m doing the Alpe D’Huez duathlon in July, the Berlin Marathon in September and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in October.


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