Buckingham woman hoping it's third time lucky for island challenge

Retired GP is raising money for Willen Hospice and Mind

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 10:26 am
Sian Whyte

A Buckingham woman is taking on the gruelling Isle of Wight Challenge for the third time this summer, to raise money for two charities close to her heart.

In 2014, Sian Whyte attempted the non-stop 106km island coastal walk, but sprained her ankles at 65km and had to retire at 70km.

She told the Advertiser: "It was horrible. I was desperately sad to have not completed it. I felt I'd let everybody down.

"It's always been in the back of my mind and I want to go back and finish it."

In 2016, Sian completed the 56km half island walk, while training for the 100km South Coast Challenge, which she completed later the same year.

Last May, Sian completed a Virtual Isle of Wight Challenge around Buckingham over 22 days during lockdown.

This year, Sian is again entering the non-stop, two-day Isle of Wight Challenge, which takes place on July 10 and 11, to raise money for Willen Hospice and Mind.

Her plan is to begin the walk at 8am on the Saturday, and hopefully finish around lunchtime the next day.

By way of training, Sian said: "I walk most days a little bit. I did 25km the weekend before last and a couple of weekends before that I did a half marathon.

"The Buckingham to Winslow cycle path has been a real blessing. If I walk from my house to the far side of Winslow and back again, that's 25km. When I trained in 2014, the path only went as far as Adstock."

But she added: "I can never train for the full distance. The most you can do is a back-to-back weekend."

The daunting Isle of Wight Challenge is a virtually non-stop walk over two days, with no sleep and short breaks every 25km for hot food and medical attention.

Sian told the Advertiser: "It's fun, and it's not fun. You do suffer afterwards. It's going to hurt. I'm going to hurt the next few days."

Over the past few years, Sian has raised around £4,500 for Willen Hospice, and she's hoping this year's event - which will also see her celebrate her 48th birthday on July 11 - will enable her to reach £5,000.

As a former GP in Milton Keynes, she saw many of her patients receive symptom control and end-of-life care at the hospice - including one of her own teachers from her schooldays in MK.

She is also splitting the fundraising 50:50 with the mental health charity Mind, after having to retire early from her career due to severe depression.

To support Sian, visit here