"What are you doing?" I randomly texted on WhatsApp while sitting on my bed crunched up next to the window, as I tried to gather sunlight to warm me up. There I was freezing in South African winter while our pals in Europe were boiling with a heat wave in summer. My message alert beeped.

"I'm picking up my number and making a late registration for the Walk the Talk... What are you doing on Sunday?" read the reply. And just like that an adventure began! I passed on my details over the phone, was registered for the 8 km race and "park-and-ride".

Before long, it was the day of the walk which was attended by almost 50,000 people and lots of dogs. It was my first annual MTN Walk the Talk with 702 and I must confess, it is not like any race/walk that I have ever participated in. 

A race like no other...

There were dogs everywhere! They were surprisingly well behaved with just a few barking incidents that took place among the species. Before the race, I was warned about poo everywhere, but was surprisingly impressed to note that this was not the case. I was saddened to note a little puppy that collapsed along the walk. There were concerned people around it trying to resuscitate it. Unfortunately I did not know what happened to the little champ.

It was good to see people from all walks of life walking together in harmony. There were wheelchairs and baby strollers, gigantic puppets and music along the way. It was a race that was filled with excitement and I had great company to chit-chat with along the way. The blue sky cheered us on as we walked through the suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Memorable in every way

There were so many highlights. My friend - who has been faithfully participating in this walk for a couple of years - came with a picnic load full of goodies. It was really nice munching biltong and other edibles that I love.

The food stalls were packed to capacity. I must say that I totally enjoyed the throwback music that played between the "star performances". The graffiti along the way, scenery, atmosphere and warmth of people coming together made this a memorable walk for me. 

I think MTN and 702 really did well and it was comforting to note that charities were going to benefit from this event. Knowing what I now know, sunscreen, water and a baby jogging stroller for children would sure come in handy if you are bringing little ones along. 

There were several grandparents on wheelchairs who attended with their grandchildren. Even though the little ones battled to push them on steep streets, they were reluctant to accept help from "strangers" offering to push.

Perhaps the thought of having someone behind them where their backpacks (with wallets) was hanging (on the back of their wheelchairs) made them uncomfortable. It sure would be nice if one could sponsor and/or rent out an electrical wheelchair on the day of the walk. 

Lastly, I would highly recommend a dog stroller if you are bringing a puppy, older dog and/or an animal that is not used to walking such a long distance. Even though there were water stations, some dogs looked like they were barely coping in the end.

Stalls amongst stalls

Apart from the very friendly puppets that posed with the crowds, even giving tips on how to take the perfect selfie; two exhibitors stood out for me. One was a LIVE band singing jazz music in the South African Police Service (SAPS) stand along the side of the road. We danced and sang along.

They drew in a crowd and I must admit, it was refreshing to interact with the SAPS on such a friendly manner. It gave them an approachable, human interest face and sure worked out so much better than had they merely handed out flyers. As a [former] marketing and communications manager in corporate - and fellow walker - I was impressed by that public relations approach. 

Another "stall" that captured my attention was by a church. What stood out was their kindness. They were warm and had a big background that depicted Johannesburg. As you walked closer to the end of the race, they invited you to come closer and offered to take your photos.

They had a warmth about them. This was refreshing because they must have seen thousands of walkers walk by, yet they spoke to people with genuine interest. After taking a photo, they handed over a sticker and invited us to the church. It was only then that I discovered that they were a church. I was really touched. I just smiled and walked past after the interaction, but they left an impression in my heart. 

All in all, I had a lot of fun and I can see why this event is so well attended. I normally go for the races where I run, but this was not your typical walk. It was a walk with a purpose. I am so glad that I went! 

If you were at the annual MTN Walk the Talk with 702 this year or previous years, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Phindiwe Nkosi at the 2018 MTN Walk The Talk with 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by SL.Phindiwe Nkosi at the 2018 MTN Walk The Talk with 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by SL.

Phindiwe Nkosi at the 2018 MTN Walk The Talk with 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by SL.Phindiwe Nkosi at the 2018 MTN Walk The Talk with 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by SL.

Phindiwe Nkosi at the 2018 MTN Walk The Talk with 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by SL.Phindiwe Nkosi at the 2018 MTN Walk The Talk with 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by SL.

 * This article contains affiliate marketing links.

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh