No time to rest for 100-mile charity walk

Robert Powell enjoys the sunrise
Robert Powell enjoys the sunrise

A FATHER and son went without sleep to complete a 100-mile charity walk in 38 hours.

Robert and Andy Powell tackled the South Downs Way, the equivalent of four marathons, without a wink of sleep.

Robert Powe with dad Andy at the start of the walk

Robert Powe with dad Andy at the start of the walk

The pair, who are formerly of Hartlepool, have raised more than £2,000 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and the Great North Air Ambulance.

Former Brierton Community School and Hartlepool College of Further Education student Robert, 28, revealed he tackled the gruelling trek despite fracturing his big toe while playing football outside The Greensides pub in Hartlepool just days before.

Robert and his dad appeared in the Mail prior to the walk, which starts in Winchester, in Hampshire and ends in Eastbourne, East Sussex, and said they expected to complete it in 42 hours.

So they were overjoyed to have finished it four hours quicker.

Robert, whose mum Linda Powell, 51, lives in the Naisberry Park area of town, added: “It was really hard to stay awake.

“After 28 years of being in a routine, your body tells you to go to sleep after a certain point.

“When you are just walking, you start thinking and your whole mental cycle is about trying to get out of thinking ‘I can’t go to sleep’.

“Dad was really strong in that respect.

“He is a very experienced walker.”

He said the pair got lost on the first night after taking a wrong-turn in the dark and ended up losing an hour’s time after walking a few miles off course.

Robert, who left the town 10 years ago to study at university in London, where he now lives, said: “We just cracked on with it and finished sooner than we planned.

“When the sun rose it was lovely weather.

“We didn’t feel that hungry, though we were stopping every four hours to refuel our bodies and we got to a good pace and kept our heads down.

“It wasn’t scary in the dark, it was beautiful.

“There were lots of deer and wood pigeons fluttering through the branches and leaves.”

Robert works for CMS Cameron McKenna lawyers, and Andy, 51, left Hartlepool 15 years ago and now lives in Greysouthen, in Cumbria.