Follow a Dartmouth woman's 132 mile walk through New England

By Mary Macedo | Sep 06, 2017
Photo by: Mary Macedo Marcia Hathaway shows the walking journey she will take on September 10.

After a 500-mile hike deep in the Spanish mountains in 2016, Dartmouth’s Marcia Hathaway is sticking close to home for her latest endeavor: a 132-mile walk from Boston to Maine.

The 67-year-old is set to participate in the EverWalk from Boston to Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She’ll leave from Boston on September 10, and will arrive at the coastal Maine community on September 16. It’s a far cry from the walk she did last year, taking on the Camino de Santiago – a challenging 500-mile hike through a remote mountainous region of Spain.

"When I tell people I walked 500 miles they look at me like I've lost my mind," Hathaway said.

In Spain, she walked between 13 and 20 miles a day and had to carry almost all of her belongings with her. The EverWalk, however, will require Hathaway to walk between 18 and 20 miles a day, which will make it a lot harder on her feet, especially due to concrete.

"Blisters are the real problem," Hathaway said. "Hopefully it doesn't rain."

She’ll be carrying a small backpack with rain gear, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip gloss, and extra socks with her during the trip.

"We will stop for snacks or lunch along the way," Hathaway said.

Hundreds of people will be taking part in the New England EverWalk. EverWalk has organized hotels for everyone to stay in, as well as shuttles to and from their destinations. With packed hotels, Hathaway anticipates that a lot of people who took part in the first EverWalk, held on the West Coast from Los Angeles to San Diego, are flying to New England to participate in this walk.

The goal of the EverWalk is to inspire people to become a nation of walkers and to take the EverWalk pledge of walking three times a week. EverWalk Nation is organized by Diane Nyad – the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida – and Bonnie Stoll. When Hathaway heard the event was coming to New England, she didn’t hesitate to join.

"If I hadn't done the Camino, doing this wouldn't have been a possibility," Hathaway said.

Hathaway takes EverWalk’s goal of building awareness of the health benefits of walking personally. Her 76-year-old husband Warren, who struggles with diabetes, lost both his legs this past March.

"People do not realize how serious these diseases are," Hathaway said. "I am dedicating this walk to my husband Warren's health and healing.”

Her goal is to bring awareness to walking’s power to change the outcome of these diseases. She’s already inspired people at HealthTrax, where she works as an instructor, to train with her as she prepares for the walk.

"I have tried to get people in my class to take the EverWalk pledge," she said. "Just walking three times a week for 30 minutes can reduce your risk of diabetes and vascular problems."

Walking is something everyone can do, and a lot of people don't realize how much they walk on a day to day basis, Hathaway said.

"A lot of people say they can't run, but walking is a doable exercise " Hathaway said.

When Hathaway walked the Camino, she convinced around 45 of her clients to train and virtually follow her journey. This time, Hathaway has about 20 clients training and following her EverWalk journey. Six friends will be joining her on different days of the EverWalk, some of whom are clients of hers at HealthTrax.

"I will have a bracelet with a chip in it, so people can follow my progress," she said.

Although she’s traveled through New England before, she’s expecting out-of-the-ordinary scenery – but it doesn’t compare to the Camino, she said. She’s expecting a challenge too, but is confident in her ability to complete her journey.

"I am not underestimating how hard it is to walk 20 miles back to back," Hathaway said. "I have the mental discipline, but I would not consider myself well trained."

Although not one for tattoos, younger friends she made walking the Camino convinced her to get a tattoo to symbolize her journey. She settled on one of the Camino way marker, which resembles a scallop shell that points out into the world. That tattoo reminds her that she is strong and can help her husband Warren through whatever battles are ahead.

"With God and family and friends, and community, and pray, and humor," Hathaway wrote in a recent Facebook post. "We....and I mean we will walk again."

The map of the New England EverWalk from Boston to Cape Elizabeth, Maine. (Photo by: Mary Macedo)
Hathaway's tattoo of the Camino way marker. (Photo by: Mary Macedo)
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