Dad Diaries #7 – Failing to Finish the Wye Valley Challenge

For those with a far too keen of an eye, you might have noticed that there was no Dad Diaries last week. For that, I’ll apologise. Although I sense that apology is needed for no one. But I do have a good reason for skipping a week.

Last week I set off in an attempt to walk 100km from Chepstow to Hereford for the Wye Valley Challenge. I managed 74km. In other words, I failed. Some would say that managing that amount is still a great accomplishment and I should be proud. I on the other hand, would simply say that I failed. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting to failure. Here I am the moment I opted to drop out. I was hoping to have a photo of me with a lovely little medal, but we don’t always get what we wanted.

myself after failing to finish the wye valley challenge
At 4am after walking for hours in the rain I had had enough

Accepting Failure When it Happens

We’ve all failed at things at various points in our life. If you haven’t then you’re clearly not trying new things often enough. We all know that it’s a terrible feeling that often brings about regret, shame, embarrassment or all sorts of other undesirable emotions. They’re the type of emotions we like to shy away from, hence why people often avoid doing things that they might fail at, but we shouldn’t. All we have to do when we fail is accept that it happened and look at what we could improve on.

When I made the choice to quit during the challenge I didn’t care about the fact I was failing. I just wanted out. I was dragging my right foot around that was blistered and sore and I felt sick and light headed from possible on/off dehydration. In the end, it turned out that I have plantar fasciitis and maybe a stress fracture in my right foot, although it’s too early to tell on the latter.

Failing made me look at myself and internally think about why I quit

The important thing is that I ask myself why I quit. Could I have carried on, or am I just a weaker person than I want to be?

I think I am a slightly weaker person than some of the other people who finished that challenge. Was I exhausted, sore, blistered and ready to go home? Absolutely. But I wasn’t the only one. Whilst I made the choice to call it a day, others carried on. Some did for the following 10+ hours until they finally crossed that line. Had it not been for my foot though, I very much would have been ready to continue. So it’s a little frustrating that it ended how it did.

That horrible feeling needs to be there though. If it’s not, then where would the motivation come from to get better? If I felt fine for quitting then what’s wrong with just doing the same thing again? No. I felt like shit for the next few days because I quit.

In the end, this challenge was a good thing

There are two great things that came out of doing this challenge. For a start, I raised money for charity. As of this writing I’m on £290, and I still have money to collect from work. I know it’s not a massive amount but I like the idea that this blog has been used for some good as well as be a place for me to waffle and talk shit.

Secondly, I learned a lot from at least attempting this challenge. Any time you can take good life lessons from an experience then it has to count for something.

Where do I go from here?

Much to Rachel’s dismay, I am already looking ahead to 2019 and the possible challenges available. I know she doesn’t want me to do this challenge again, and don’t worry, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to either. But I know I owe it to myself to finish what I started. So yes, I will be looking at possibly booking one for next year.

In the end, I’m gutted that I didn’t finish it, but I know it doesn’t really matter. Isabelle couldn’t care less whether I finished it or not, she was just wondering where the hell I was for the entire day. There will always be another day to try this again.

Thanks for reading this, and thank you to everyone who has either donated or supported me in some other way during this challenge. And now it’s time for a little video:



I’m a 26 year old married father of one. I started blogging after suffering postnatal depression when Isabelle was born. These days I talk about much more than just that.

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