After an arduous and ambitious trek on the Great Wall, the Wild Women have returned downtown stronger and better. The ladies, representing 13 countries, completed the course of 70kms of uneven terrain over three days from April 12 (Friday). And even before the big day, the ladies had been preparing tirelessly while organizing events to raise RMB 75,000 for their chosen charity, Five Loaves and Two Fishes House, and Agape Family Life House.
But conquering this world wonder was definitely a walk on the wild side for the participating ladies. Beijingkids has received a report about an accident that involved some of the Wild Women. So we caught up with Lucille van der Merwe, one of the activity organizers, to shed light about that incident, and to also find out more about how the event went.
BJK: It’s been reported that several Wild Women were injured, but it wasn’t clear when it happened. Could you give us more information about it and how did the Wild Women crew cope with the situation?
Lucille van der Merwe (LM): No ladies were injured during our Wild Women on the Wall run and hike. We completed the hike and the run with no more than a few blisters to show for the 70kms we traversed across the trails and mountains.
After the completion of the event, a group of ladies enjoyed a private excursion. After this excursion, they were involved in an accident while being transported. I was not a witness to this but obviously, as their friend, I was there afterward to assist them and thankfully everyone was fine.
BJK: Tell us the highlights of the run. What were the hardest parts and how did you get past them?
LM: All three days were magnificent! The weather was perfect, the scenery was spectacular, and amazing friendships were cemented between the 24 strong, kind, and beautiful women. My personal highlight was that all the ladies participating successfully completed the 3 days of hiking and running. I think the toughest physical parts were the very steep mountains and sections of the Wall that we climbed and descended. Our total cumulative elevation was 4,399 meters, which took us approximately 100,000 steps and 760 flights of stairs and ascents. In total, we ran and hiked 70km of trails and Great Wall terrain.
BJK: How did the preparations help the ladies during the three-day hike?
LM: All the ladies have been training since October 2018 for the run. We combined running, spinning, swimming, and strength training over the last six months to ensure that we were not only fit but strong as well. This type of strenuous physical activity requires a lot of cross-training to ensure that we all remained injury-free during the event. We also had monthly group training runs to build on our fitness levels and to build on our friendships and the sisterhood of Wild Women.
Wild Women on the Run (in South Africa) and Wild Women on the Wall (In China) are informal events, organized by a group of friends for a group of friends. We worked together as a team in all matters and this makes planning, logistics, and teamwork much easier and more efficient.
BJK: What did you and the other ladies learn during and after the hike?
LM: We were reminded that as women we are marvelously and perfectly made and we are strong beyond our understanding. Women supporting and caring for other women in a tough, multi-day event is such a beautiful and powerful thing to be a part of.
BJK: How much money have the Wild Women raised for charity? And when will you present it to your beneficiaries?
LM: Each lady has been responsible for her own donations and finances, so we will let you know once we account all the donations. And we are hoping to arrange the handover within the next three weeks after I return from organizing the Wild Women on the Run in South Africa next week (April 27-28).
BJK: What’s next for the Wild Women? Are there more upcoming initiatives?
LM: I am participating in the South African Wild Women on the Run this month (April 27-28). As soon as we know what our new initiatives are in Beijing, I will certainly let you know!
BJK: What advice can you give to other people wanting to do a similar endeavor?
LM: If you would like to create something, find a group of people who have similar goals, dreams, and passions, create a plan and just do it! There are many volunteer hours that are required for any event of this nature and it takes a lot of commitment. With regards to the fund-raising side of things, we also believe that everyone should “pay it forward” (we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others!). To be able to gather support for our two chosen beneficiaries has been a wonderful experience for us.
Photos: Courtesy of Lucille van der Merwe