Joy trail

It’s late in the evening, I’m on my way to Mönchengladbach. Tomorrow I am participating in the Mega Marsch at 50 km. It is also the first item on the list of goals for the current year.
I am very happy to be at the starting line. I bought the ticket at the last minute. Although I am basically very well organized, since I implement a detailed training and nutrition plan, carry out several projects and deal with current affairs, I sometimes act spontaneously. Maybe more chaotic, and as I don’t like this term, I choose it spontaneously.
The most important thing is that I will be there, that I pursue what I have decided, what I love and what I believe in.
On every marsch, on every hike, I meet people who are on that path for a reason. I am very curious about their purpose, why they do it.
I have already learned a lot of such stories, because whenever possible, I ask to get to know these stories. During Mega Marsch it is difficult because we are all in a hurry, we are focused on the road and we mobilize all our strength to reach the finish line.
I love to walk. I discovered this love recently, but since it appeared in my life, I have subordinated everything to it.
But that’s not the only reason why I’m on my way. Walking is one of the faces of my activism. During each Mega Marsch I promote veganism, not only through slogans, but most of all through my behavior.
I would like people to know that veganism is love, equality, empathy, and cordiality.
Walking has become a form of activism for me. Whenever I can, I try to combine these events with a fundraiser for animals.
At 22:30 I arrive at the hotel H4, which is located opposite the stadium and only 300m from the finish line.
It’s a very nice, modern, comfortable building. The kind receptionist greets me and I go to a cozy room. What draws my attention in the first place is vegan friendly hand soap and other cosmetics. I always enjoy these little things because they confirm that we make good changes and make the right choices.
The room and bathroom are very clean and pleasant. Another thing that attracts my attention are the snacks in the bar area. Unfortunately, there is no reason to be happy here. These are mainly milk chocolate bars made of cow’s milk, as well as coffee cream.
I often spend the night in hotels and so far I have met oat milk in a hotel bar only in one. Sad.
Despite the road I have traveled, I don’t feel tired at all. I’m excited and I’d love to take off now.
Fortunately, the night passed quickly. I always drink vegan protein before taking off and eat a light breakfast. The second aspect disappointed me a lot because unfortunately the restaurant belonging to Borussia Mönchengladbach is completely vegan unfriendly. The only vegan products described are soy milk and disposable margarines. I’m pissed off and disappointed. My breakfast is oatmeal with watermelon and soy milk. Delicious, healthy only annoying that there is no other alternative whatsoever.
I always see the positives, so I focus on checking the backpack and go to the starting line.
There are 1579 participants. Only 1052 people will reach the finish line, but we do not know that yet, so I anticipate the facts a bit 🙂
I complete the formal matters, take photos on the wall in new activist clothes, stamp me for the start and finally go. At each start, my slogans on my clothes attract attention and trigger a comment. This time I heard: “We also have a vegan, it’s good that there are also fruit at the stations.”
Each march is an adventure for me. I know that the emotions I will experience will be various, what I will learn about myself, what I will observe inside myself. This adventure is a deep encounter with myself, in this case for 7 hours and 15 minutes. Now, when I start, I am filled with gratitude, joy that I am here, that I can participate, that my healthy, strong, fit body enables me to do so. The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, the sky is cloudless and the beginning of spring. How happy I am.

On the way, I pass nice local people of Mönchengladbach. It’s amazing how people’s faces change when I say good morning to them with a sincere smile. I have a lot of positive energy in me and I like to share it.

The participants are very different. Some people go in the whole group listening to music, others are engaged in conversations in pairs. There are those who by their participation want to prove something to themselves or to others, those for whom this event is a challenge in life. There are also those like me who love to walk and want to break their own records. I haven’t met people who have a message to convey. This is probably why my clothes cause quite a stir, both positive and negative. When I pass photographers during a march, I often hear the question why I cover my face with a mask. Hardly anyone understands the explanation that I want the photos to show the slogan from my sweatshirt or T-shirt (this time also from the flat cap). For me, veganism is love, equality, compassion and kindness, and I believe it with all my heart. Some time ago I decided that all sports activities I undertake, each trip, event would be a form of promoting veganism.
7 hours is a really great time to be with yourself. The terrain is completely flat so it’s easy to walk, for the entire 50km I will come across only one small hill. Along the way, after walking an average of 10 km, there are rest points. You can refill water, eat, use the toilet and rest on the bench. And this is why at the second station I see oat milk and my favorite. Despite the rush, I have to stop, take a picture and emphasize it because it is a huge progress on the part of the organizer. The oat milk cartons are the first so I believe most consumers have used them.
Such changes fill me with great joy, so I fly out of the second station as if on wings.
During the 50 km walk, I do not take a single break, apart from a short stop in the toilet. I only eat bananas, this time 4 for the entire march and take an apple which I will eat only after the march is over. I have a water bag in my backpack.

What is crucial is good preparation, comfortable clothes and, above all, comfortable footwear. I have many pairs of shoes. Top sports brands, tested, recommended and, in a word, amazing. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm this. For distances over 45 km, only one shoe works for me, thanks to which my feet have space and a relatively small amount of damage after the distance traveled. If you go non-stop for 7 or more hours with average speed 7,2km/h – believe me, shoes play a key role. If you choose wrong, you will suffer enormously.

I feel the first pain after 30 km. The toes begin to swell, the first bleeding wounds form. I also feel pain around the nail plate. After 35 km, the leg muscles show themselves. The pain, however, is moderate. I watch him, I accept. Setting out on this march, I knew that it was its indispensable element. I feel more grateful for the thought that I have 15 km left to walk.
When I reach the 40 km sign, I start to estimate how much time I will need to reach the finish line. For another 10 km, nothing else matters to me, but being on the road. This episode passes quickly. I pass the last 5km very quickly. I come to the signs that are counting down the last kilometer.
I am filled with gratitude. Love made me go vegan has been seen by a lot of people today, for sure some of them will be remembered and thought-provoking.
They warmly welcome me at the finish line, collect the medal, take a commemorative photo, stamp the completion.
Another adventure has come to an end. And yet I believe that I was supposed to be here today, that I did something good and added another brick to something powerful.

Joy Forst