The former ME sufferer that has walked across America

Jane Siegert finishing her virtual walk across America in Hopton

Jane Siegert at the end of her walk across America along the famous Route 66, although she has never visited the US. She is raising money for research into ME after she was struck down with the condition 20 years ago. Her daughter has also been diagnosed with the little-understood illness. - Credit: Steve Siegert

Twenty years ago Jane Siegert barely had the energy to shower and had to give up her civil service job due to a debilitating disease.

The elite marathon runner was due to take on the London Marathon when she fell ill with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome) ending her dreams of ever running competitively again.

Jane Siegert has walked across America for ME research

Jane Siegert is on her fifth pair of walking shoes, after clocking up at least seven miles a day for over ten months. - Credit: Steve Siegert

Now, in a bid to give hope to people living with the disease today she has walked across America and sent a flurry of postcards home, without leaving her seaside village.

Mrs Siegert went through five pairs of trainers and finally reached journey's end clocking up 2,280 miles on Sunday at Santa Monica pier - aka Hopton beach.

The 52-year-old set out on January 1 from the start of Route 66 in Chicago with the aim of taking a year to complete the charity challenge,  but found she got ahead of herself completing the route on Sunday (November 19).

She followed her progress via an app virtually passing through Texas,  New Mexico, and finally Las Vegas.

Jane Siegert's walk across America via Route 66 for ME research

Day one: Jane Siegert sets out from her home in Hopton on what she thought would be a year-long walk across America. In the end she completed it on November 21. - Credit: Steve Siegert

In reality her trip was mainly walking around Hopton, the beach, and woods, sometimes with friends and dog Darcy and punctuated by chats with locals about her progress.

Most Read

Mrs Siegert, a teaching assistant, has raised over £2,000 for Invest in ME, a research facility based at the University of East Anglia.

Jane Siegert has walked across America for ME research.

Jane Siegert mapped the route and her progress via the Conqueror Challenge app which gives users updates and details about places of interest and history along the way. - Credit: Conqueror Challenge

Speaking about her experience of having ME she said: "They were not good times."

"I just had no life.

"I think back to myself 20 years ago when even having a shower would mean I would have to sleep for four hours.

"It's not really sunk in that I have walked across America this year. It felt really good.

"Lots of people have been asking about it which is lovely."

Jane Siegert walks across America in Hopton

I've made it! Jane Siegert's triumphant last post car from the Conqueror Challenge app. - Credit: supplied by Jane Siegert

Mrs Siegert's daugher Ellen, 18, was diagnosed with ME in March 2018.

"The very first day she fell ill she was saying exactly the same things that I had said when I had it.

"She is gradually improving. She has seen me and knows she will get better, she just doesn't know when."

To donate visit Jane's Route 66 Conqueror Challenge page on Just Giving.

Jane Siegert's walk across America for ME

One of the virtual postcards Jane Siegert sent home via the Conqueror Challenge app from her trip along Route 66 in America. - Credit: supplied by Jane Siegert


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter