The long and grinding road to a moving ovation

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What a finish. It's not very often that I get emotional but yesterday's incredible Twickenham ovation at half-time really touched me very deeply. After all the hard work, getting that kind of recognition from rugby lovers meant the world to me and my team. The fact that we were beating the Aussies at the time helped, but that was still return to headquarters for me.

What a finish. It's not very often that I get emotional but yesterday's incredible Twickenham ovation at half-time really touched me very deeply. After all the hard work, getting that kind of recognition from rugby lovers meant the world to me and my team. The fact that we were beating the Aussies at the time helped, but that was still return to headquarters for me.

To be honest, I was most excited for the other boys. My best mate Chalky and my two running mates, Gary Smith and Frazer Grant, have been rugby fans for a long time and, while they had been to Twickenham for internationals in the past, none of them had ever experienced that incredible feeling of running on to the famous pitch on a big match day. Yesterday was their first taste and I can tell you they'll never forget it.

Even for someone like me, who has walked out to a packed house there on a few occasions over the years, this was pretty amazing. It's real hairs on the back of your neck stuff and I'll never tire of the sensation.

In fact, it was a bit surreal being out there in a kit I'm not normally associated with on a rugby field, but the reception was tremendous and I got as big a kick as ever.

Perhaps my joy had something to do with the fact that I have just achieved the toughest assignment of my career. Walking from Bath to Twickenham is just about doable. But walking from Bath to Twickenham via Newcastle is just plain stupid. Four weeks of hard work, incredible meetings and countless blisters later, and I'm ready for a rest.

It's funny, though, because I'll miss the routine in some ways. The best way to describe this trek is that it was like a rugby tour, but without the relaxation. I'd get to the starting point every morning and look forward to the day ahead. All you knew was that you were going to be on the road for roughly six hours. The rest was a leap into the unknown. Each bit of the walk was so different and that's what kept me going.

Well, that and Chalky. I'm not joking when I say that I couldn't have completed this without him. I owe much to his unbending support. There were times – lots of them – when I had serious doubts about whether I could make it to the finish. The combination of having my best mate by my side and meeting so many wonderful people along the way was what saw me through. I've achieved quite a lot in my time, and I hope to take on many more challenges in the future, but this has been really special.

I'd like to sound brave for you, but the truth is that I am going to need time to think about whether I could ever do this again. A lot of time. I spoke to Ian Botham, my predecessor on these charity treks, and he said something which perfectly encapsulates how difficult the task is. Ian told me that he knew exactly how I was feeling and how much pain I was in but, like me, could not describe it in words. Quite simply, you have to have done this to understand it.

Whether I can find the resolve and energy to repeat the walk remains to be seen, but at least no one can take this one away from me. I've done my bit for charity over the past 15 years but this achievement definitely eclipses everything else. This morning I am proud, elated and utterly shattered. We have now raised well in excess of £140,000 and we expect many more donations over the next few weeks. I'm still hopeful that we can reach my initial target of £250,000 but we must not be complacent. We're almost there so keep giving.

Yesterday was a special day, but Friday had its moments too. Arriving in London was a wonderful feeling because I knew then that the finish line was in sight. We were joined for the last stretch by Lawrence Dallaglio and it must have been odd for a Wasps man to walk into the middle of a Harlequins training session. It certainly felt strange to me, but only because I could see Twickenham's imposing frame standing tall just over the way.

Don't tell anyone, but I actually only walked a mile yesterday. On Friday night, I invited some of my close friends from home to join me at the hotel for a little celebration. I then had a good sleep, a hearty breakfast, and a gentle trek from Richmond to Twickenham. Bliss.

I would like to thank all those who have helped me make it to the end. This has been a team effort and everyone has played a very important part. I am aware that it has been a great achievement, but the most ringing endorsement has come courtesy of my father. Dad said he was always incredibly proud of my rugby career, but that my completing this trek was better than anything I ever did on the field. Need I say more?

The Tetley's Trek

Jeremy Guscott's epic walk in aid of leukaemia may have reached its destination, but the fund-raising has not. More details on www.tetleystrek.co.uk

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