Keith Wisdom’s Versaclimber Everest Challenge
Keith Wisdom, long standing supporter of the Ellen Mezzetti Memorial Fund tells us about his latest adventure!
“It’s been a while since I last took part in a sponsored event so last year whilst watching my good friend Fred Corbett train for his Everest Base Camp Adventure to raise funds for the Ellen Mezzetti Memorial Fund I came up with the idea of trying to emulate the height of Everest on the machine I was training on which is a Versaclimber.
Although it had been done before by much younger and fitter people than myself it is still quite a unique challenge. Sounds great so I thought, I would do it from Sea level to the top a height of 29,029 feet. That was last year and I set about training for the event. What I liked was the fact I could now eat more and still not get fatter alas I did not lose any weight either! The trick when you know you are taking on a big fitness challenge is to build up steadily so you achieve little goals along the way and most important of all avoid injuries.
Because this is a individual challenge and not like a Marathon organised by others you have to plan early, take into account where best to do this challenge and ideally the best place for us locally was our Morrisons Supermarket. Morrisons have been great to us in the past and they have a huge request list for fund raising outside their store so I had to get a letter in early on to get a slot on a Saturday – this gave me 10 months to get ready. Weeks turn in to months and months soon turn into seasons. Before I knew it I had only a few weeks to go before the big event. Fear now takes a hand, Although I had trained hard all through the year I had not got anywhere near the height I needed to achieve this challenge so I made it a goal to get to 19,000 feet and then brave out the next two hours to get to the top. I also took advice on food and drinks and worked out a strategy of breaks. One week to go I was ready. I could not face anther day of training this was it, six hours of machine time was all that was left for me to do after hundreds of hours of training.
The fact is, I could not have done this on my own, John Mezzetti let me nearly wear out his versaclimber at the gym, recorded music for me and was with me all through my training and on the day. Other friends and my wife Mauricette were quick to offer their support in helping contact the press, make me energy bars and most importantly be there on the day both to set up and collect money whilst I got on with the easy bit. I say that because on a November day I was keeping warm and they were standing there for 7 hours with their arms aching holding the money pots!
7:15 am 15th November 2014 there we were outside Morrisons in Cromer setting up the machine, the Epilepsy Research UK banners, flags, balloons and my chart with a little action figure appropriately dressed in green climbing up a long vertical Velcro strip to the top. 8:10 am, and getting on with it at last. Each time I got to another 1000 feet my supporters would give a cheer The staff at Morrisons and their customers were fantastic and money soon started to fill the money pots. Although remembrance Sunday was only the week before and Pudsey had been on the night before the generosity of the British public is second to none and they kept me going all the way. 19,000 feet came and went and I knew I had it cracked and although it was beginning to hurt a lot, it was also fun. 29,000 feet. A short break to wait for the press to get her shopping. and a countdown for the last 29 feet. Total joy, I did it, Champagne, photos, press interview and party poppers. Two flags now proudly stick out the top of the Versaclimber, a small union Jack and a Epilepsy Research UK flag.
Its almost a month now and I stop and look at my little mate still at the top of Everest stuck fast on my wall to the Velcro and I know it was all worth while. Thank you to everyone who made this so special for me and if you want to have a go at a challenge, do it, be it big or small and do it for Epilepsy Research UK. I am now thinking about the next challenge whatever that will be. ”
We are so grateful to Keith and all his supporters for fundraising for us again and delighted to have raised over £1,800 from this event – thank you so much!