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Everest Marathon blog – part 3

Hello All,

Back for a quick update. Training continues to go well – battered out 16miles in the Chilterns today, so hopefully on track. Starting to consider giving up booze (poor will power on that one so far), giving up coffee (even worse will power), sorting out nutrition (eating as much as possible) and getting plenty of sleep (that’ll be the day working in the events world!), all in the name of training.

Just a bit of info on our fundraising! This wasn’t really our main priority in setting ourselves the goal of running the Everest marathon – more the lust to travel and have an achievable goal ahead to train for. Neither Patrick nor I really enjoy sticking our necks out and asking for cash, but Bufo ventures (the Everest Marathon organisers) recommended setting up a Virgin money giving page and we thought we would give it a go! The result has been astonishing and we have been both overwhelmed by people’s generosity and support of our endeavours and three very worthwhile causes.

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Dog sledding in the Arctic Circle

 Join us on the experience of a lifetime! Our dog sledding trip takes you through the Norwegian wilderness and deep into the Arctic Circle. You will have your own team of huskies to work with, as you travel across this region’s deep snow and frozen lakes. Accommodation will be in heated cabins, some with the option of a sauna in the evening.

2012 also looks set to be one of the best times to view the legendary Northern Lights. NASA has forecast that the Northern Lights will shine at their brightest levels for 50 years due to increased solar particle activity, and the far north of Norway is one of the best places in the world to see this amazing phenomenon.

Trip of a lifetime. Loved every moment. Tim, dog sledder Feb 2008.

Thanks for the most amazing week here in Norway. The trip surpassed all expectations. Excellent company, great food and surprisingly comfortable accommodation. John, Open dog sledder 2010

 

Just Walk photographers tell us why they love the event so much

On the 7th of May we were shooting for the second year at the amazing Just Walk event at Goodwood racecourse.  This event is a charity walking event run by Across the Divide, under the “Just Events” banner.  These events are organised by Across the Divide, and groups or individuals take part to raise money for a variety of charites.  We shot as this event for the first time last year, and were quite amazed by the whole thing!

Last year we turned down the organisers offer of staying on site the night before, which was a mistake, so this year the friday night saw our photogrpahy team converging on Goodwood from various places across the Midlands and London, and being hosted by the wonderfully friendly ATD staff, complete with barbecue and beer!

At six the next morning the campsite came to life with people begining to set up the registration area in the grandstand for the first walkers to arrive.  Those taking part in the 40km and 60km routes arrived, had breakfast, warmed up (complete with music and fitness instructor) and set off at 08:00.

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Trekker of the month – Alan Chamley

Alan is our trekker of the month.  He is a truly inspirational man he has taken part in three overseas challenges and has never let his disability get the better of him.

  • What made you want to do a charity challenge

The chance to travel to places that I had not considered before.  I’d never been beyond package holidays.  To go to the Sahara Desert, then Namibia, was something other people did.  With Iceland, lots of people will say it’s a place they would visit,  though most just don’t get around to it. 

  • How many have you done

Three

  • Which was your favourite?

They are like children; I like each for different reasons, and can’t really choose.  I guess the first is extra special.  Namibia, where we built school playground equipment and took part in some school classes, had the special element of giving help to a community.       

  • Which charity did you raise funds for and reasons why

RP Fighting Blindness – the charity’s main purpose is to raise funds for research into finding cures and treatment for the eye condition retinitis pigmentosa, which I have myself.  The Charity also focuses on information and support to individuals and families affected by RP, via its Helpline service, for which I do a weekly session. 

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Everest Marathon blog part 2 – The Trek and Race Day itself!

It’s been about one month since our previous blog and, despite being away working on various cycling events overseas, training has been going well! We have completed training runs locally in the Chiltern hills and slightly further afield, enjoying the UK’s many varied mountain areas e.g Brecon Beacons training run (see image). I thought I would take the opportunity to tell you a little more about the Jiri to Namche Bazaar trek and the Everest Marathon route itself.

In early Nov Patrick and I will set off ahead of the main Everest Marathon pack (possibly the only time that we will be ahead of them!) and get a rickety bus from Kathmandu to Changma and trek from Jiri  to Namche Bazaar. In Namche we will meet the rest of the gang who will have flown Kathmandu to Lukla.  The Jiri to Namche trek will take 8 days and should be excellent training as it traverses the valley systems of the lower Khumbu and therefore provides lots of ups and downs! View the route.

By the time we reach Namche  we will be at 3440m and will have an acclimatisation day before setting off on the trek to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo Lakes. View the route.

Finally, on 2nd Dec 2011 we will attempt the 26 mile run from Gorak Shep back to Namche Bazaar and hopefully the Everest Marathon shall be complete! View the route  .

From there it is a flight from Lukla back to Kathmandu for fine dining and a knees up before flying home, well…..that’s the plan anyway.

Why book with Across the Divide

We know that price is almost everything in this day and age and we understand that, but we are not budging on our values.   We have very high safety standards which means that we are not always the cheapest option, but we are one of the safest. We endeavour to have a UK medic on every trip, and provide up to date medical equipment and the latest in technologies out in the field.  We never compromise on our safety standards and we hope you’ll take this into account when choosing your overseas or UK challenge operator.

We recently asked a few key clients why they booked with us and these were some of their responses…..

  • You are very trustworthy
  • We know how much you value safety on the treks and appreciate the importance you place on this (i.e. a doctor on all treks, taking an extra day to ensure everyone gets to the Kili summit etc)
  • You help us to create the itineraries that we want and that sell so well to our corporate supporters.
  • Your in-country partners are usually fantastic
  • You send great teams of Expedition Leaders, Guides and Doctors on our Challenges – who pretty much always get excellent feedback from participants.
  • Your office staff are very responsive – I feel we have an excellent relationship and that you always get back to us promptly and add value wherever you can.
  • All of you are very friendly, approachable and experienced.
  • You really look after our participants well 
  • You are a small but committed team and we really appreciate that and the fact that we know you all – we know who to speak to about which element of the trek and appreciate getting the same familiar (expert!) voice 
  •  The knowledge that we have a fully qualified doctor who is trained to deal with emergencies in extreme environments is a huge comfort when taking 40 supporters of the charity abroad.
  • The ATD trip leaders really take all the stress and pressure off the charity staff members.  They run the projects extremely efficiently and are excellent at dealing with all situations whether it is an emergency or dealing with difficult participants.  The support provided at the information evening is also hugely appreciated and really helps to reassure any nervous or high maintenance participants.

So if you are speaking to your current overseas challenge supplier make sure you check about UK staffing ratios, if they supply a medical kit and what’s in it, and if a UK Doctor is on the trip.  These are key values which we know our clients appreciate over cost.

In Praise of Porters! By Claire Langford AKA…ATD Travel Writer

Those of you who have taken part in any of our high altitude treks will know the feeling: you’re short of breath, legs feel like lead, and you’ve slowed to a mere shuffle. Then a group of porters pass you, carrying at least four times the load that you are, yet moving at four times the speed!

The work that porters do is often key to the success of a trek, and yet not all operators recognise this. On Kilimanjaro in particular, local crews carry loads of up to 25kg up the mountain, before pitching tents, setting up the dining tent and catering area, collecting and boiling water and preparing a hearty meal for the trekkers.  They often still find the energy to sing and dance, to welcome the group into camp!

At Across the Divide we are committed to the fair treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro, and work closely with our local agent, Good Earth Tours, to improve the working conditions of porters on the mountain and ensure that they receive a fair wage for their work. We are therefore delighted to announce that we recently became a Partner for Responsible Travel with the International Mountain Explorer’s Connection (IMEC). IMEC created the Partnership for Responsible Travel Program to recognize those tour operators committed to fair treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro. In order to become a partner you must consistently meet IMEC’s guidelines for proper porter treatment on Kilimanjaro: this is monitored by IMEC’s local initiative, the Kilimanjaro Porters’ Assistance Project.

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ATD Guide takes on the Everest Marathon

Jen Sinclair – ATD guide is training for the Everest marathon Dec 2011

Welcome to my first blog about the Everest Marathon! Why am I doing it? I’m sure half way through I’ll be asking myself the same question! The event has been on my radar since I spent three months in Nepal and Tibet back in 2006, I decided this year was the year. I’m running the event with my boyfriend Patrick; we’re both keen fitness enthusiasts but wanted a goal in training. To aim for this unique and challenging endurance event whilst also incorporating a trek in this stunning part of the world, fitted the bill perfectly.

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Trekker of the month – Katie Bizzey

Our trekker of the month is Katie Bizzey, who has now completed two treks with Across the Divide plus taken part in four Just Walks.  We asked Katie some questions about her treks, motivation plus much more.  

1.  What made you want to do a charity challenge

My daughter Laura has Muscular Dystrophy.  With no treatment or cure for the disease, as a parent I feel hugely helpless that there was nothing I could do to help my child.  When I saw a charity trek challenge advertised by our disease-supporting charity, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, I decided that this would be something positive for me to do in the face of this terrible disease Laura lives with.  I have always enjoyed a ‘good walk’ and have tramped in NZ, gone ‘off road’ walking in India and so on, but never walked to any level of challenge in a group.

2.  Why did you choose Morroco

Morrocco was a coincidence!  I chose to trek in aid of Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and that was their trek location! Luckily for me, it is, in my opinion, a good ‘starter trek’.

3.       Why did you choose ATD

ATD is  Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s chosen adventure challenge company so they weren’t MY choice, but an excellent choice made by MDC and I would never even look at a competitors website:  if ATD cant take me to a specific location, I will stay home!!

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SSAFA Forces Help – Ride of Britain

Edinburgh to London | 470 Miles, 5 Days | Bike, hand-bike or tandem | 21-25 September 2011

Will you challenge yourself for SSAFA this summer and support the first Ride of Britain cycle?

The route covers 470 miles of countryside, through Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales, the flat land of Lincolnshire and quaint villages of Cambridgeshire. On the final day, you’ll peddle through the buzzing atmosphere of London, finishing at the iconic Horseguards Parade

Leading the way completing the full distance by hand-bike and tandem will be Rifleman Michael Swain, who lost both his legs, and Rifleman Paul Jacobs who was blinded, in separate explosions in Afghanistan in 2009. Michael says “I hope we can inspire the public to sign up to support SSAFA, as well as servicemen and women who are receiving rehabilitation at Headley Court. SSAFA helps so many families and I’m proud to be able to give something back.”

Paul who will be guided on a tandem bike by his brother is appealing to more of his fellow servicemen and women to take part. “We need members of the Army, Navy and Airforce to sign up to represent their service and support this amazing charity”.

Register online here.