Hannah's 350km Year - For the Royal Hospital for Women Breast Centre

By Hannah Soulsby

I'm fundraising for the The Royal Hospital for Women Foundation - Breast Centre

Every week, around 350 Australians are diagnosed with breast cancer. During the week of Christmas 2017, when I was 29 years old: I became one of them. 

Between now and the end of 2019, to raise funds for the Royal Hospital for Women's Breast Centre, I will be walking 350km: one kilometre for each of the women diagnosed with breast cancer each week in Australia. If you need more convincing, here's a little bit of info on the "how" and the "why"...

How?

Simple. I'm going to walk my butt off. Some of the tracks I'll be taking on are:

- The Six Foot Track (Blue Mountains, NSW - 45km)

- The Coast Walk (Bundeena, NSW - 26km)

- The Spit Bridge to Manly Walk (Spit Bridge, NSW - 10km)

- Mermaid Pools and Tahmoor Gorge Walk (Tahmoor, NSW - 10km)

- Sphinx Memorial Loop (Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, NSW - 10km)

- Karloo Walking Track (Royal National Park, NSW - 10km)

- Mt Ku-ring-gai to Berowra (Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, NSW - 9km)

- Minyon Falls Walking Track (Byron Bay, NSW - 7.5km)

- The Coastal Walk (Bondi, NSW - 6km)

... Plus heaps of other walks both here and in the UK, when we manage to take a trip home to visit my friends and family.

So with the company of Alex (my awesome fiancé), friends and family - this is my mission: a 350km year.

Why?

I was lucky enough to be referred to the Prince of Wales and Royal Hospital for Women; it’s no exaggeration to say that I owe my life to the doctors, nurses and staff who work there. And it’s also not a stretch to say that I don’t think I could’ve made it (mentally, at least) without the help of Gill, the Breast Care Nurse at the RHW Breast Centre. Gill is a force of nature and a truly caring, knowledgeable and downright hilarious individual; one who is by your side before you even know you need her. I won't ever be able to thank her, and the people who treated and cared for me, enough. 

Instead, I'm going to raise some money for the RHW Foundation to support Gill and her colleagues at the Breast Centre. The Centre cares for more than 2,500 women, just like me, every year. Thats nearly 50 every week. Money raised can fund upgrades to equipment such as ultrasound and mammogram machines, which will help thousands of women to detect cancer earlier, improving their chances of survival. It will pay for more nurses like Gill, who support patients and their families and who are instrumental in getting patients through the fight of their life.

If you're reading this and you are able to donate - please do! I will be applying for funding matching from my employer, so whatever you donate will be doubled... but whatever you can spare is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for reading.

H x

P.S. For more information on how Gill got me through this year, head here (but please donate through my fundraising page to ensure I get your donation doubled!): 

https://www.royalwomen.org.au/guiding-light-in-the-dark?fbclid=IwAR0VK7bFa8Xu-Gyg5bSa8s2YQqr7mdnjdV3ZO7AKY9l90dE5yF6LN08W5hI

My Updates

January to June: 175km of NSW finest walks...

Saturday 8th Dec

I can't believe it’s only been a week since I shared my page and already we're up to more than 10% of my target! Thanks to everyone who has donated or sent messages of support.

With so many people keen to join in on the adventures, I thought I'd share a bit of a schedule for the walks I have planned. Where there are walks a bit further afield, if you're keen but don't have a car, hit me up: we’ve got cars/ spaces available. If anyone has any suggestions for walks in and around NSW, please let me know!

 

JANUARY 2019 - 33km

 

Wednesday 2 January - Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach

Distance: 6.5km, 2 hours (easy)

For anyone who isn’t still bed-bound after New Year festivities and remains off work the first week of Jan, I’ll be kicking off 2019 by heading OTB (over the bridge) to walk the track from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach. Expect scenic harbour views, secluded beaches and some probably average chat from me.

Meeting point: Taronga Zoo wharf

 

Sunday 6 January - Lake Parramatta Reserve

Distance: 4.2km, 2 hours (easy)

Continuing the first month in a pretty gentle fashion, I’m heading to Lake Parramatta for the best of both worlds: bush walking close to the city. The reserve has a 4.2km loop around a beautiful lake, free parking, a designated swimming spot and absolutely heaps of wildlife (we saw a snake last time we came here - full disclosure)! Billy bonus: dogs are allowed on-leash. So are unruly partners.

Meeting point: Lake Parramatta Reserve car park/ Bondi Junction for lifts

 

Sunday 13 January - Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Distance: 6km, 3 hours (easy-moderate)

Busting out a crowd pleaser early on, I’ll almost definitely be walking this one several times to get my kilometres up. But there’s a reason for that: it’s an EPIC walk. Taking in heaps of scenic vistas, coves and beaches, the Coastal Walk never disappoints. And even better: multiple swimming and libation points. Remember you must fit into one of two categories walking this track: Eastern suburbs try-hard or tourist-who-walks-really-slow-and-gets-in-the-way. Both welcome.

Meeting point: Bondi Pavillion (Finishing point Coogee Bay Hotel…)

 

Sunday 20 January - Spit Bridge to Manly

Distance: 10km, 4 hours (moderate)

This is one of the most scenic, and for Alex and I, memorable walks in Sydney. It was on this weekend in 2018 and along this track that Al got down on one knee and proposed. This one will most certainly be followed by a cheeky celebration to mark the occasion. And I’m not going to lie - it’s probably going to be a tear-jerker (for me anyway).

Meeting point: The northern end of the historic Spit Bridge

 

Sunday 27 January - monthly walking club: laps of Centennial Park

Distance: 3.6km per lap, 1.5 hours (easy)

I’ll be lapping Centennial Park to get my kilometres up before the end of January. Except for February, I’ll be holding monthly walking club in Centennial the last sunday of every month. There is an asphalt walking loop, which makes it easy for buggies, dogs (on-lead) and hangovers from those long weekend hijinx. So come join for as many laps as you like! All things being well, I’ll only “need”  to do one loop to hit my monthly km target, but I’m a fan of hedging so I may just stick around for a couple. I’m certain there are plenty of pubs nearby for celebratory drinks. It’s the day before my birthday after all, and as last year was cancelled, I’ll be turning 30.

Meeting point: Centennial Park Homestead Pantry

 

FEBRUARY 2019 - 30km

 

Sunday 3 February - Manly North Head Walk

Distance: 9.5km, 3-4 hours (moderate)

Another brave venture OTB, I’ll be checking out the 10km loop around Manly North Head. Yet again, a great option to be followed by the odd beverage on Manly Wharf. I mean sure, you can say there is a theme to these walks, but I’m English. We don’t walk without the promise of a pint of Timothy Taylor’s at the end (I’m looking at you, Dad)

Meeting point: Manly wharf

 

Sunday 10 February - Rose Bay to Watsons Bay

Distance: 10km, 3-4 hours (easy)

What’s not to like? 10km of NSW coastline, within easy reach of almost anywhere, culminating in a pint at one of the most scenic pubs in Sydney, Watson’s Bay Hotel. Plenty of spots to stop for a swim: Milk Beach, Parsley Bay and Watsons Bay itself. There’s even a nudie beach somewhere along this route (or so I hear). But for the sake of everyone involved, you’ll be pleased to know I’ll be remaining fully clothed, myself.

Meeting point: Rose Bay wharf

 

Thursday 14 February - Sunday 24 February - Byron Bay walks

Distance: 10km+

Alex and I will be taking a long overdue break, and heading back to where it all began. Three years after we met. We’ll be taking on Minyon Falls and the Byron Bay Lighthouse tracks, somehow fitting these in between doing nothing for as much of the holiday as possible!

 

MARCH 2019 - 41km

 

Sunday 3 March - Mermaid Pools and Tahmoor Gorge Walk

Distance: 10km, 5 hours (hard)

This will mark the first “hard” walk I’ll be doing. This is a little-known track, and as such the signage isn’t brilliant. But rumour has it local do-gooders have marked out the track with makeshift signage and ribbons. I also read that Mermaid Pools is sacred land for women in Aboriginal culture and was previously closed to men. So this will be a real treat and a hidden gem of a track to complete.

Meeting point: Lift off will be in cars from Bondi Junction

 

Saturday 16 - Sunday 17 March - The Coast Walk, Bundeena

Distance: 26km, 2 days (moderate - hard)

This is when the proverbial shit starts to get real. We actually have to fend for ourselves on this one. Alex and I will be doing our first overnighter in prep of the big 3 day walk in April. This walk speaks for itself though: 26km of bush and coastal walking through the National Park near Bundeena. Involves an overnight at a remote campsite. One for the Bear Grylls among you…

Meeting point: Lift off will be in cars from Bondi Junction

 

Sunday 31 March - monthly walking club: laps of Centennial Park

Distance: 3.6km per lap, 1.5 hours (easy)

I’ll be lapping Centennial Park to get my kilometres up before the end of the month again. Except for February, I’ll be holding monthly walking club in Centennial on the last Sunday of every month for anyone who wants to join in.

Meeting point: Centennial Park Homestead Pantry

 

APRIL 2019 - 55km

 

Sunday 7 April - Sphinx Memorial Loop, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Distance: 10km, 3 hours (easy - moderate)

A short drive from Sydney, this loop walk trails past open forests of smooth barked apple gum and red bloodwoods. We’ll go past the historic Halvorsen’s boatshed before heading through thick mangroves and returning to Sphinx Memorial and several pyramids among rough barked tree ferns. Heaps of spots for a nice picnic along the way.

Meeting point: Sphinx Memorial car park or Bondi Junction for a lift

 

Friday 19 - Sunday 21 April - The Six Foot Track

Distance: 45km, 3 days (hard)

This is it: the big kahuna. The Six Foot Track. This badboy is serious business: a challenging three day hike from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves in the NSW Blue Mountains, which passes through the Blue Mountains National Park and state forests. For anyone wanting to join, there are a few requirements: your own kit, a reasonable level of fitness and an unprecedented level of patience, because I’m pretty tragic at outdoors stuff so prepared to be stretched.

Meeting point: Lift off will be in cars from Bondi Junction early on Friday.

 

Sunday 28 April - laps of Centennial Park - monthly walking club

Distance: 3.6km per lap, 1.5 hours (easy)

If I am still alive after the six foot track, I’ll be lapping Centennial Park to get my kilometres up before the end of the month again. Except for February, I’ll be holding monthly walking club in Centennial on the last Sunday of every month for anyone who wants to join in.

Meeting point: Centennial Park Homestead Pantry

 

MAY 2019 - 25km

 

Sunday 5 May - Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Distance: 6km, 3 hours (easy-moderate)

Returning to the old favourite, I’ll be trying to keep things simple in May after what will likely be a huge month of walking in April. Y’all know the drill…

Meeting point: Bondi Pavillion (Finishing point Coogee Bay Hotel…)

 

Sunday 12 May -  Sydney Bay Run

Distance: 7km, 2 hours (easy)

Another city-based walk, I’ll be tackling the Bay Run for some Sydney appreciation. Given that the path is never further than 20m from the water, the views are said to be incredible. Pubs-a-plenty for afters.

Meeting point: King George Park, Rozelle

 

Sunday 19 May - Mt Ku-ring-gai to Berowra, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Distance: 9km, 3 hours (moderate)

As per NSW Parks and Wildlife site: “Starting from Mount Ku-ring-gai Train Station, this moderately challenging track leads through dense woodlands past an Aboriginal midden of the Guringai people. The track leads to historic Appletree Bay, where you’ll follow Cowan Creek to Waratah Bay, the site of Windybank’s Boatshed. A rusting frame is all that’s left of a romantic holiday ‘paradise’. From here, it’s a steep climb to Berowra Station.” Sounds good to me!

Meeting point: Mount Ku-ring-gai Train Station

 

Sunday 26 May - Monthly walking club: laps of Centennial Park

Distance: 3.6km per lap, 1.5 hours (easy)

Once again, I’ll be lapping Centennial Park to get my kilometres up before the end of the month again. Except for February, I’ll be holding monthly walking club in Centennial on the last Sunday of every month for anyone who wants to join in. 

Meeting point: Centennial Park Homestead Pantry

 

JUNE 2019 - 29km

 

Sunday 30 June - Monthly walking club: laps of Centennial Park

Distance: 3.6km per lap, 1.5 hours (easy)

As winter really starts to kick us in the nuts, I’ll be persevering with Centennial Park laps to get my kilometres up before the end of the month again. Except for February, I’ll be holding monthly walking club in Centennial on the last Sunday of every month for anyone who wants to join in.

 Meeting point: Centennial Park Homestead Pantry

 

Send me a message if you want to get involved, and thanks again for all the support!

Thank you to my Supporters

$350

Mark, Lisa, Jasmine, Oli & Lochy Adamik

Here’s $1 for every kilometre walked and women diagnosed. Champion effort. You’re a legend. We’ll definarely join you for a walk along your journey.

$208

Chloe, Jack, Elsie, Millie And Bump

Way to go Aunty Hannah and Uncle Al, you can do it. Lots of love from the Uk x x x x x

$104

Sarah

Your reselience and determination is something you should feel so proud of - what an incredible cause, very happy to support something so fantastic as this. ❤️

$104

The Lindsay’s

Amazing idea, you’re such an inspiration! Would love to join you on some of the walks!

$104

Sue And Dave Lansom

GO Girl GO. You continue to blow us all away by your spirit and determination. Love Sue and Dave Lansom xx

$104

Keith And Anne

You are truly an inspiration Hannah. Keith and Anne x

$100

Tim & Deb Culverhouse

In all respects Hannah you’re just awesome! Go girl xxx

$80

Lisa Boden Shah

What a great thing to do. Sending love as always, Lisa & Jef xx

$52

Hannah Soulsby

$52

Karin Post

Great cause! I would love to walk with you 😘

$52

Lara Behrens

Nice one rafiki! Let me know when you fancy some company. Would ❤️ To walk with you. Huge smooches xxx

$52

Melanie And Jay Bonnor

You go Han! #legend 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

$52

Sarah Brady Cahill

Hey lady! I have been watching your journey from the other side of the world. So happy to be able to donate to your cause! Love and miss you xx

$52

Nicki And Conrad Lashley

You are a true inspiration Hannah. Wishing you lots of luck.

$52

Amelia Funnell

So proud of you for doing this! I’m keen to participate and walk with you!! Xx

$50

Vincent Hughes - Mick’s Biker Grouo

Have some great walks xx

$40

David Eccles

Best feet forward! Good luck with it all.

$31.20

Eleanor And Roger

We’re sure you will meet your target. They sound beautiful walks. Go Hannah Go! X

$26

Mair Price

Superstar x

$26

Ellie , Julia And Jessica

What a wonderful thing to do! Enjoy the walks Hannah. They sound amazing! X

$26

Jonathan Lindley

Good luck!

$26

John & Sally Rimmer

$20.80

Keith Burn

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