On Saturday 30th June staff members from TRO will be starting The Three Peaks Challenge. The Three Peaks is a tour of the highest peak in Scotland, the highest peak in England, and the highest peak in Wales. The aim of the challenge is to reach the top of Ben Nevis (1,344m) in Scotland, Scafell Pike (978m) in the Lake District, and Snowdon (1,085m) in Wales, and drive in between them in under 24 hours. This is no easy challenge, each of these peaks are difficult to walk up and down on their own, add to that the minibus journey in between, lack of sleep, and climbing 3 of them in 24 hours….we’ve got a big task on our hands. 15 brave souls from The Reader Organisation have stepped up to the challenge in order to raise money for our apprenticeship scheme, with a fundraising target for this event of £5,000. We have begun training in earnest and undertook our first team practice walk a couple of weekends ago….
Our first entry in the Three Peaks Training Diary comes from Eleanor Stanton, our Project Manager for Get Into Reading Liverpool.
I must admit that when the idea of doing the Three Peaks Challenge was first mooted at The Reader, I thought to myself, how hard can it be? It’ll be fine. Easy, even. It’ll be a laugh.
Having returned from my first training walk up The Old Man of Coniston, I feel it necessary to revise my initial musings on the subject and come clean. I’m not fit enough; not by a long shot. The sight of me panting and puffing up the side of a, frankly, average-sized hill was not a pretty one. I practically had to be pushed up the last third, to the sounds of my feeble wheezy protests: “I can’t do it, I just can’t do it”.
When I eventually reached the top of Coniston, to find everyone else on the team happily sunbathing and tucking in to their sandwiches, the dreadful reality finally hit me: this is going to be hard, terrifyingly hard. And, if I’m honest, it is all I can do to stop myself from shrieking with fear, dropping out of the team and leaving the gruelling task of climbing three mountains in 24 hours up to “the sporty ones”, i.e. not me.
Before the hell of Coniston the challenge was, to me, entirely a psychological one; mind over matter and all that stuff. People who whinged or complained or, worse, dropped out were sissies and babies and would be letting the team down. I had more mettle than that. Preparation was the key and the challenge would be comfortably within my reach.
I have certainly been taking the preparation seriously, if preparation means expensive and meticulous shopping. I have acquired a beautiful new pair of comfy walking boots with coordinating socks, a pretty purple rain jacket, a matching fleece and backpack, some walking poles and a water bag with a clip-on drinking spout. I’ve also been pretty good at planning: putting together a comprehensive and well-organised first aid kit, printing off walking guides for various potential training locations, talking about the Three Peaks Challenge, lots of talking.
I think that somewhere at the back of my mind I did know that it would be a good idea to do some proper training but, what can I say? Time has
slipped by, and now we are three months away from the big day and although I have lots of lovely shiny equipment, I’m still unfit. Did I mention that the challenge involves walking up and down three mountains in 24 hours? Mind over matter, mind over matter – seems lame now.
So, this is my training schedule for the next three months:
- Running around my local park every other evening during the week. Last night I didn’t even make it round once before I felt as though I was having a heart attack, but at least I tried, right?
- Zumba class once a week as the humiliation of being purple-faced by the second dance will definitely spur me on to get fitter.
- Hilly walks every weekend. This weekend I am going to see how fast I can climb and descend Mam Tor in Derbyshire.
I am trying very hard to regain my initial enthusiasm for the upcoming challenge, but the dread of the task ahead and the fear of failing or letting the team down is pretty huge. What I am keeping in mind, though, is the fantastic cause we are raising money for and the fact that the money we raise will change someone’s life.
One sure way to spur me on, and all of my team mates for that matter, is to get sponsoring; to donate as much as you can afford and to help us reach our £14,000 target here. The idea of raising all that money certainly puts 24 hours of pain and misery into perspective.
Donate today! http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/trothreepeaks