Category : Hike For Health

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Ultra Hike for Health in Bulgaria – a blog by Maria Assenova

On the 14th of July I participated in an ultra-marathon, a 100km trail running around Vitosha mountain near Sofia.

The competition started at midnight, when I took my stand at the start line with more than 500 competitors, ready to run and walk all night, all day long. An hour before the start rain poured out over Sofia, predicting a very muddy trail in the forest. And so it was! Hour after hour in the darkness, the light coming from my head torch illuminated only steep muddy hills in from of me. The 50 km middle station welcomed me with the first sun rays, some fresh cucumbers and a chocolate (a very delicious combination indeed!) and a calling pain in my left leg. I tried not to pay attention to it and continued further until I was not able to walk at all.

These kind of ultra-distance competitions are not only a physical challenge, but are an inner ,fight’ with yourself. Especially when every painful step in the mud confirms the irrationality of your action, only the inner voice “I can do it” makes it happen at the end. I retreated at the 85km after 15:30h of struggle in mud and pain. My legs gave up before my mind just 15km before the final. This was my hardest race ever and the hardest decision to stop walking so close to the goal. But despite this fact I felt happy cause after all I was able to make 2 trail marathon distances at once and I want to dedicate my achievement to the Hike4Health cause.
Because sport is not only a competition, competitions are not only for professionals, and the ordinary people could run, and yes, they could run also 100kms. Because sport in its pure form, is after all everyone’s can Hike 4 Health especially for such a great cause – the medical facility in Ol Maisor!

Walking through Sofia’s scenery – a blog by Ivana and Angelina Kancheva

When we set off to Vitosha on the day of Sofia’s William Hill Hike for Health I thought we would be soldiering onwards gulping air and trying to crawl desperately to reach the summit expecting us. I particularly thought this because I knew that not everybody from our small but rather enthusiastic group did much hiking in their everyday life, apart from a few exceptions. It turned out quite the opposite.

We left the office building at around 8am early in the morning and after an hour’s drive the closest mountain to our city gently opened up its green, fresh and breezy scenery. It’s very easy to get to an altitude as high as 1500-1900 metres above the sea level if you live in the capital, since Sofia is located in the very beginning of Vitosha – and that’s something I truly love about it. Vitosha is usually a very windy mountain and it tends to be very cloudy and misty, especially in the late afternoon. The early hours of the day when we ascended the mountain started when it was dark and foggy, but we were later provided with some warm sunshine – and so the mood turned very positive as well. We had to walk a distance of 12.4 miles or 20 km between the villages of Bistritza and Boyana that are located in beautiful pine forests.

The hike was easy and achievable since the path we had to walk was flat. The distance was relatively large but time passed really quickly as in a matter of a few hours we managed to cover it, and with each glimpse of romantic views of green crowned beech-trees, evergreen oaks, and the light squeezing through the branches, our effort seemed effortless.

We spent the time hiking getting to talk to each other, chatting about all sorts of things. Not only work-related, of course. We laughed and joked around, had the chance to communicate and get to know each other a bit more as well since our small group consisted of people from different teams. While Jose was impressing Kateto with some funny psychology stories, Nevena, Ivana and Annie talked about alpinism and day-dreamed about future journeys observing the beautiful setting. Kristina’s cheery voice was announcing our small breaks along the way as Robert was laughing at Krisi’s ambitious plans to take a group selfie.

It all went smooth and I’m sure we were all in a position to keep on walking even after the last kilometer of the track. With the sunny weather and the friendly atmosphere it was more of a pleasure than a challenge.

A big thank you for the dedicated time and effort everyone!

Yodelling through West Highland Way – a blog by Sharon Barbour

Eight girls and one ‘Alpha Minion’ as he became known took to the West Highland Way on Sunday doing a total of 108 miles but I am sure it was felt by many of us at some part like 208 miles.

We had the pleasure of being waved off by Louise Ferguson who had the role of being our official photographer. Am sure after Louise’s week of walks down Ayrshire she was very happy to be waving us off.

Off we set all looking very bright with our yellow Hike for Health t-shirts but then we all came to a stop very quickly. Why I hear you ask. Because those of us ahead didn’t have a clue what way we should be going. Thanks to our HOME Hero Linzi Martin who was on hand to tell us we had to follow a little thistle sign otherwise we may well have landed back at the Milngavie shop which wouldn’t have been a bad thing (Big Steve makes a great cup of tea and was the perfect host before we set off).

If anyone heard any reports of someone yodelling along the route then look no further than Audrey but it was more to our amusement when after hearing her echo we heard a gentlemen join in.

It was great to reach the halfway mark which just so happened to be a pub to allow time for us to freshen up or more to the point get a little refreshment. We are not used to this hot weather in Scotland. The heat even had one of the party thinking she saw a snake (which turned out to be a pipe) but we did come across some other animals including cows, sheep, horses and even a deer.

When we signed up for our walk we thought the challenge of the day would be the hills and rocky pathways – it turned out to be gates. I think we have mastered every way to open a gate from levers, locks and to one that had a chain and bolder on the end to make sure it didn’t stay open.

Out walking in hot weather you start having dreams of ice cream, cold drinks and ice lollies. We were never so happy to come across a house with an honesty shop. The money was quickly placed in the box and ice lollies were purchased.

So focused were we on following the thistle we nearly found ourselves doing the second stage of the West Highland Way. Maybe the next time!

The walk was completed by Sharon Anderson, Sharon Barbour, Linzi Martin, Jen (Linzi’s sister in law), Luke Norman (our Alpha Minion), Kelly McIntyre, Yvonne McMenamin, Janice Collins & Audrey. On route many people asked about Hike for Health which we all took great pride in telling them why we were doing the walk. We had a few who thought we were walking to Nairobi and told us we were going the wrong way!





Photo Galleries of Hike for Health Events

William Hill colleagues from around the world got together to “Hike for Health” in June 2014, aiming to fundraise £10,000 to build a medical facility in Ol Maisor as part of Project Africa.
Every colleague who took part walked a minimum of 10 miles, close to their home, collectively aiming to ‘walk to Nairobi’.
Teams sent in blogs and photos showing off their local surroundings for their 10 mile walk. You can view these below, and the blogs on previous post pages.






Sofia, Bulgaria


Area 5, London



Manila, Philippines


Hiking for Health in Tel Aviv

A small but committed group felt inspired by Hike for Health and decided to join the event. Some jumped at the opportunity to be part of a William Hill initiative to benefit Project Africa, some felt spurred on by old-fashioned competition, and some felt the draw to boost their fitness level. Here is how three participants described their involvement. “After seeing the proud postings of my Gibraltar colleagues, I instantly felt inspired to do the extra mile for that and went out to run, ” said Meir Deutsch, Head of Marketing Planning, Operations & Mobile.

Gadi Shoshani, SEO Sports and Project Lead: “I was thinking about Project Africa every step of the way. I think it is a great cause and I’m glad to be part of a company that offers opportunities such as Hike for Health.”

“I needed a push to start exercising, and the Hike for Health was the perfect trigger. My next walk will be in honour of a little boy I sponsor who lives in El Salvador. I haven’t calculated how many miles it is from Tel Aviv to El Salvador, but I am sure it will be longer than the 10 I did to Nigeria,” said Sara Claro, Content Manager.