Why I’m taking on the Pilgrims’ Way.

By Sarah Frow, Personal Trainer at the Parkinson's Centre for Integrated Therapy

“Why the Pilgrims’ Way?

Going beyond the supposed limits of human performance. It’s not just about pushing the physical body, though that’s part of it. It’s about fundamentally changing the way the brain works.

Since my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I have changed the way I exercise; I no longer train to win, or to look good and or to maintain weight. I now exercise for my brain and to slow the progression of my disease.

When the Parkinson’s Centre for integrated Therapy launched in April, on World Parkinson’s Day 2023,I witnessed fellow Parkie Krish’s extraordinary challenge of climbing to Everest Base Camp.

This got me thinking – how can I challenge myself to do something that doesn’t involve flying to a different country, or potentially falling off a mountain? I knew I was capable of running and hiking, but how and where could I attempt a potentially gruelling and inspirational challenge? When my friend Jess said that she wanted to run part of the Pilgrims’ Way, from Wye to Canterbury in aid of PCIT, this inspired my thinking – why not run/walk the entire Pilgrims’ Way in a week. The journey begins in Winchester and rather appropriately finishes in Canterbury, the home of PCIT and my place of birth.

Six days of 20 to 30 miles per day. Could I do it?

Firstly, I ran this past my husband Mike, who has been my (long suffering) support crew for various challenges over the years, marathons, ultras and mountain hikes. In 2015 he expertly supported me and my 3 team mates over 100 km along the South Downs, where we finished in 1st place and broke a 10 year record. Unfortunately, an hour later from our podium position I became severely unwell! If it wasn’t for Mike‘s handiwork, (he is anaesthetist) I might not of made it!

Remarkably, he was on board with my idea. However, only if I “train sensibly and organise the challenge with military precision” he said. Then it was a “yes” from Mike!

And so the training begins now…

This will be a combination of running and walking for the next 6.5 months. Slowly building up the mileage and time on my feet.

I will be taking every step for PCIT, its current and future members and it is my way of raising awareness of Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

I would also like to thank the University of Kent and the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy for giving me purpose and positivity.

I am equally excited and terrified to take on this personal and purposeful challenge.

Please consider sponsoring me to take on this huge challenge to help me support the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy, which is already so important to many people.  Thank you.”

If you would like to sponsor Sarah for this most adventurous challenge, please visit her JustGiving page.

Thank you Sarah for your dedication to and support for PCIT!