I Waddle, you Waddle, We all Waddle!
2017 Waddle for a Week was absolutely amazing. Why? Well, so many things contributed to the amazingness of the week. The group was one of cohesion and with a common goal. The Waddlers were enthusiastic, upbeat and ready to change the world, even when the blisters started appearing and the muscles started complaining. The support along the way was phenomenal and the route, as always, spectacular.
The amazingness reminded me of 2011, when 7 people set out to tackle the first Waddle for a Week. I was the support person. I drove ahead of the group, made sure that they were safe and tried to provide them with whatever it was they needed at that moment. I saw many similarities between the 2011 and the 2017 Waddles, but the thing that stood out for me most was the spirit of the Waddlers. The way they banded together and became a unit in absolutely no time at all (even when we had a Waddler join two days into the walk). I spent quite some time during the 2017 Waddle, picking out moments that felt familiar and safe because they reminded me of the first Waddle.
Contrary to popular belief, the Waddle actually starts the moment the first group of Waddlers gather at the Aquarium to load the “Waddle Wagon” and head out to the airport to fetch the rest of the group. They then head out to Gansbaai and from that moment, when the whole group is together, the Waddle is “a go”! The Waddle also only ends late into the afternoon on the Saturday, because the group spends the last lunch together with some staying an extra day. The lunch is long and lazy – they have just walked 120km after all! But also, it is the last time that they will be together as a group – it is difficult to say good-bye to a group of people who you have spent 24 hours a day, for seven days with. It is difficult to say good-bye to new friends. It is difficult to say good-bye to new family.
Waddle 2017 was epic. It was fun. It was memorable of note. It was inspiring. And it was over, far to quickly.