Tuesday 7 December 2021

The Virtual Mount Everest Challenge

Regular readers will know that I've been raising funds for St. Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410) for the last 28 years. My Mam was a day patient at the hospice for 12 months and subsequently received palliative care during the final two weeks of her life as she lost the fight against lung cancer. That's us pictured below at my graduation the year before she died. That my Mam had cancer, was something she kept from me until I finished my final exams. That is incredible when I think back. I'm indebted to her and my Dad who sadly died in 1988 for so much. I feel equally indebted to St. Benedict's Hospice. 

The debt of gratitude that I feel towards the Hospice and the amazing staff who work there continues to be repaid with a series of events that have grown in size, complexity and difficulty over the years. The general public have been sp supportive over the years and my personal dream of raising at least half a million pounds for St. Benedict's Hospice and other good causes is alive and kicking.

The main event so far has been the 20,000 mile run around the world which is being done in 9 different stages. Until the pandemic, a total of 5 stages and 10,000 miles had been ran across the UK (John O'Groats to Lands End), USA (California to New York), Australia (Perth to Shellharbour) and Europe (Lisbon to Belgrade to Kiev) with £144,877.60 raised for St. Benedict's Hospice and £194,539..98 raised for other causes such as The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, The Children's Foundation and Useful Vision.

The grand total of £339,417.58 raised to date represents an incredible amount of generosity from so many kind people. When it's safe to do so, t
he around the world run will resume from Kiev, Ukraine to Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan with subsequent stages to Shanghai then across Japan and finally New Zealand. 

In the meantime, the fundraising continues with various endurance events. The next one will take place on Saturday December 18th 2021. There's a twist the time, where I will be doing a lot (and I mean a lot) of climbing instead of running. 

I'll be using what I find to be one of the most challenging machines you'll find in a gym, the VersaClimber, to climb the equivalent of sea level up to the summit of Mount Everest. That's a distance of 29,029 ft (8848m). In running terms, I anticipate this to be as difficult as, if not more so than, a marathon (26.2 miles). I'm calling this one the Virtual Mount Everest Challenge.

I expect climbing that massive height to take me anywhere between 4 and 5 hours. It could even be longer as this really is unknown territory. It's the equivalent of 8 to 10 VersaClimber classes at David Fairlamb Fitness back to back. Speaking of which, I had originally intended to do this challenge on my own machine at home. I have disco lights and everything!! When I sought advice on how to approach this challenge from personal trainer David Fairlamb he was only to quick to offer his specially designed VersaHub. I was secretly hoping he would! 

For those readers who don't know, the VersaHub at David Fairlamb Fitness is truly a unique facility that you won't find anywhere else. It's situated in an enclosed space that has specially optimised sound and lighting. David describes each 30 minute class as "unique and hugely motivational". I simply know it as the hardest cardio workout I've ever done. Dave explains on his website "If you have knee, hip or back issues the non weight baring joint friendly VersaClimbers are perfect for you. Andy Murray's road to recovery after his career threatening hip injury was hugely accelerated by his VersaClimber fitness programme. As you are upright the movement also strengthens your back, bum, legs, shoulders, calves and core. In other words its a full body workout.".

The clip below is a promotional video I shot earlier this year which really does give you a good idea of what the equipment and the classes are all about.

I'm sure you can now appreciate it when I said that this is unknown territory for me. It's like going from a Park Run to a Marathon but still trying to maintain the Park Run pace. The Virtual Mount Everest challenge is not going to be easy by any means and I do hope you think it's one that is worthy of sponsorship for such an amazing cause. 

St. Benedict's Hospice are a charity that have seen numerous events cancelled or scaled down over the last 20 months due to the pandemic. To help the hospice to continue to care for terminally ill people in our region means that now, more than ever, they need our support. 

Please donate whatever you are able using the link below as every penny counts. It really does. Did you know that of the £106,000 raised during the run across the USA, an incredible £50,000 was made up of donations of £10 or less. So putting all of our collective efforts together means that we can make a huge difference to such an important charity. 

Don't forget to check back daily on this site for the all the build up to what promises to be a very tough challenge.