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Archive for December 9th, 2020

In April of this year, just one month after we went into lockdown, my daughter introduced me to the Conqueror virtual challenges. A friend of hers was participating in them, and knowing how much I love walking, she thought they would be a fun idea for me too. Initially I was like…hmmm that’s a bit expensive, but hey I like the Hadrian’s Wall medal, so yeah, why not sign up and do just the one (please note, at the time I said “just the one” πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ)

I signed up, downloaded the app and for the next week I swore and spluttered as I tried to get to grips with how it all worked…and I walked. But soon enough I figured it out and in no time at all I was adding on the miles and watching my progress.

My very first walk …

The organisers are very clever… besides the fact that the app has (actually) been beautifully designed, the features keep you hooked as you progress along the route…click on the map and you can see ‘where you are on the route’ and until I figured how to turn it off, all the other virtual travellers who were either with you, or ahead or coming up behind. I found that a bit busy and switched to only me.

A little too busy for me, but wow, there were a lot of people on the same route

Besides that, you get award notifications (via the app)…Flying Start Award 5%, or Trail Blazer 20% and Halfway There Award 50%, a bit like a coach would do, keeping you motivated.

Virtual coaching

If you click through to the actual challenge they have 2 stats: Distance and Time which show you the distance you’ve covered and how long it’s taken you. You can set the length of your own challenges. I usually overstate mine and end up completing well before my expected date – then you get a message that says “well done Cindy, are you sure you’re not a pro? Or “you’re well ahead now” LOL Brilliant.

Besides that excitement, they intermittently send you virtual postcards telling you more about the route and the history of said route or the country you’re virtually walking through – and they have really put a lot of thought into it. I get a thrill each time a new postcard pops up in my email.

Conqueror virtual challenges – Hadrian’s Wall
Conqueror virtual challenges – Hadrian’s Wall

They’ve recently introduced a new feature and for every 20% of the challenge you complete, they plant a tree in conjunction with their partners Eden Projects; their reforestation programs help the environment and reduces extreme poverty by employing local villagers. The trees are planted all over the world, from Madagascar and Indonesia to Central America and Haiti. Being eco-conscious and concerned about the destruction of our planet, this was an exciting feature and keeps me heading for the 20% markers. I’ve planted about 20 trees so far β˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Conqueror virtual challenges

At the time I started the Hadrian’s Wall challenge I was working in a wee village in Somerset; Nether Stowey, miles from anywhere, out in the countryside and right slap bang on the Quantocks. Give me the name of a walk to do, and I’m there…πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Stepping out on Hadrian’s Wall virtual challenge

And so, during lockdown, I used most of my 1 hour allocated free time for exercise and I was out exploring and walking, the kms/miles soon added up. Using the calendar on the app I added a description of where I’d walked and added a photo for each day’s mileage and looking back its brilliant to see what I did each time I went out ‘boots on’ walking.

Suddenly hoorah!! To my excitement I completed Hadrian’s Wall challenge….I marked it as completed and waited in anticipation for my medal. Yes!!! You get a real life medal, and it is beautiful, a real solid medal on a lanyard. Clever clever organisers.

My first medal – Hadrian’s Wall

At that stage I was like okay, that was fun but I’m not going to spend anymore money on this….

Until I did 🀣🀣🀣 I ‘happened’ to look at the website and saw the Camino de Santiago challenge….my resolve dissolved. I loved the medal, and since I’m planning on actually walking the Camino in the next couple of years, I decided to sign up for ‘just one more’. So I signed up for the Camino de Santiago; at check out, they offered a 15% discount for doing 2 challenges….how could I resist!

And so my one challenge became 3 as I signed up for the English Channel challenge as well – of course the medal had NOTHING at ALL to do with my choice hahaha. Of course I had/have no plans to actually swim the English Channel, but I’ve walked along the beaches and waded in the sea often enough…so, I walked. The distance is only 34 miles and within 4 walks I was done! Whoo hoo…another challenge completed (30/09) and my medal was in the post! Some people actually swim laps in a pool while doing this challenge.

How could I possibly resist this??

Now what? I really really didn’t want to spend any more money on this, but! I follow the Conqueror Conquest Challenges on instagram and one day to my cost, I noticed their new challenge : The Ring Road – Iceland! OMG Sold to the lady in the corner LOL Dammit it. The medal is absolutely stunning. I caved, and not only that but I bought the 5 challenge pack as mentioned in an earlier post, as well as the 2020 Challenge which lists all my walks from 01.01.2020 right through to 31.12.2020 – super awesome. Of course the amazing medal had nothing to do with that either. My goal for 2020 was to walk 1600kms (1000miles) again, since I didn’t in 2019.

….and so I bought The Inca Trail – Peru (since completed), The Ring of Kerry – Ireland (since completed), The Ring Road – Iceland (for 2021), The Cabot Trail – Canada (for 2021), and the 2020 challenge. And then for good measure I added the Great Ocean Road – AUS (currently walking) and Alps to Ocean – NZ (for 2021).

Conqueror virtual challenges I’ve completed
Congratulations on starting the Inca Trail Challenge. This is a 26.2 miles / 42.1 km journey from Ollantaytambo District, Peru to Ponte da reserva de Machu Picchu, Peru.

This trail is so beautiful and full of historical value and because of that, UNESCO declared it a “World Heritage” site.

Machu Picchu β€” A New Wonder of the World

Richard L. Burger (an American archaeologist and anthropologist) thinks that Machu Picchu was built in 1450 – 1460.

The reason it was built is unknown. But most archeologists agree that the city was built to be a “royal” estate.

They think that the Inca emperor Pachacutec ordered the construction for himself, most likely after a successful military campaign. However, it is interesting that although it is considered a “royal” estate, it has not been inherited.

How is the journey so far, Cindy? Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and rest from time to time.

But at the rate I’m going trying to complete each challenge asap to get the medal, I’ve already exceeded my 1600km target and am close to completing 2020kms, my current total is 1749kms including today 9th December LOL – an awesome challenge!! Its been good to push myself to achieve that target.

Conqueror virtual challenges
Conqueror virtual challenges

And so, I’ve gone from signing up for 1 challenge to 10…..I love it. It’s a bit crazy really, but I love walking, and these challenges really keep me motivated, and the medals…..well, they really are beautiful and had a lot to do with my decisions..

In fact you can join up and either walk indoors, run, swim, cycle either indoor or outdoors, you can do rowing and skiing, you can participate even if you’re in a wheelchair, and of course outdoor walking which is my preferred method of exercise. It’s just brilliant.

As for the future…well there’s the John O’Groats to Land’s End challenge …that’s quite far at 1733kms/1083 miles, so I’ve looked at that for 2022 and maybe I’ll plan to walk that in real time and follow the virtual trail at the same time…πŸ˜‰

Now, I wonder what other challenges they’re going to design? I have no doubt that I will in all likelihood sign up for those as well. This could keep me going until I fall over…kaputski!! LOL

and unbelievably (or not) just last week I signed up for their latest challenge: to climb Mount Fuji – Japan…virtually of course 😁😁😁 The medal is absolutely stunning, why would I resist

I mean, come on seriously…why would I not!!

And that brings me up to 11 challenges!! To say I’m addicted would be an understatement….

Why not join me and sign up to complete a couple before the end of 2020 and maybe set yourself a challenge for 2021. If you sign up via my link you get a 10% discount, as do I on my next challenge. https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474

See you at the top!! πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

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