Walking the Great Wall of China

In the latest ZZ blog series, we speak to Hayley Slatford who has recently returned from China where she took part in a Charity Event to raise money for Prostate Cancer and walk the Great Wall of China. Here’s her story……

Hi! My name’s Hayley and I currently work at the University of Leicester, I love sports and I’ve just got back from a challenging trek across the great wall of China for charity.

My fitness journey?

I’ve always been active and played different sports ever since I can remember, growing up it was mainly hockey until a friend introduced me to softball and I haven’t looked back since. That was 10 years ago now and I definitely feel being active in softball has helped keep my fitness levels up. I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing if I can help it! I love to do a kettlebell workout in the week, as I feel it really pushes you and you definitely notice the results!


What do you play?

I play slowpitch softball which is predominantly a summer sport but we play indoor softball over winter too to keep active (and to remember how to catch a ball!) I love playing as it’s a very social sport with a wide range of mixed abilities so you will always feel part of a team.

To learn more about baseball & softball in the UK, click here #GetInvolved

How did you hear about the fund-raising trip to China?

It actually came up on Facebook as an ad and I’d just finished writing myself a bucket list of places that I want to go and to walk the Great wall of China was one of the top things to do on my list, so I looked into it and found that charity challenge offered a brilliant package, plus I got to raise money for a charity of my choice too which I hadn’t done before. So couldn’t see a reason to not do it.

I travelled with a company called charity challenge but hadn’t met anyone doing the trip until we got to the airport, so it was pretty exciting meeting new people and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group.


Trip preparation..

I did a lot of walks in the run up, sometimes I wouldn’t have much time to drive out anywhere so would walk around a couple of parks for as long as I could. Other times I would travel out to places like Bradgate park and walk up and down as many hills as I could to get a feel for it.

Charity support

I’ve raised £2,300 and my original target was £2,210, so I’m really pleased I’ve hit my goal but would obviously love to raise as much as possible. I’m raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. One of my friends from work was recently diagnosed and is terminal so he inspired me to help support the cause.

To support Hayley’s efforts, please click here http://www.justgiving.com/Hayley-Slatford

My adventure experience..

Being out on the wall was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed it, so much so I’ve decided to do additional challenges on the last day to really push myself. We ended up doing different challenges at each watch tower including sit ups, an aerobics class, squat jumps and yoga poses amongst other things. It feels a bit strange not waking up and putting my walking boots on now I’m back to go and walk more of the wall! Doing this challenge has made me want to do more and travel the world as much as possible.



The food was authentic Chinese and was delicious, we even had an authentic breakfast (they like to use egg in most meals!) the accommodation varied as we stayed in farmhouses some days and a hotel the others so we had very basic showers and toilets in the farmhouse (if you look up Chinese toilets you will see what I mean by basic) and then regular accommodation that you would expect from a hotel here.

Highs and lows..

My favourite part would have to be the incredible views we got every day, plus the challenges on the last day made it fun and I felt like I’d really achieved something by the last day. The only thing I wasn’t keen on the whole trip were the toilets, everything else was great. Oh, and the driving, it got pretty crazy at times!

Fitness on the Great Wall..

So the first two days just walking the wall was enough fitness as my legs were really aching from walking up and down so many steps. Over days 3 and 4 I think my body got used to walking, so much so I felt like I could do more, by day 5 I craved to do more which is where the challenges came in and it actually made the last day more fun and more challenging.

yoga pose front

Does new fitness kit motivate you?

Definitely! Whenever you put a new piece of clothing on it just makes you feel better and you want to go and show it off, either at the gym or at softball or for a quick walk around the park.

Loving ZAAZEE ….

I thought I’d try out the capris to see how I got on with them. They are amazing, they fit so well and the material is so soft to your skin. They’re definitely my favourite pair of sports trousers to wear (which is why they came with me on the wall!) so I bought the matching sports bra too and it’s so comfortable, I’ve found with previous sports bras that they can be too tight and rub or feel restrictive but my ZAAZEE bra is great!


What’s next?

So already me and some of the group are looking at walking across the Sahara desert in February next year with the same company, but for now, it’s softball season, so I will be playing as many tournaments as I can throughout summer. keeping my fitness up and concentrate on trying to raise more money for prostate cancer UK for next year’s trip.

Thank you for reading and I hope to blog about my future ventures! Hayley xx

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miss_slatford/

Charity Challenge Mannequin Challenge on the Great Wall of China featuring Hayley!

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