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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.


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


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


  • 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. 


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.

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.


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!!


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.

Climb Kilimanjaro – benefits if you book with Across the Divide?

Our emphasis on safety means we are not the cheapest but we think we are one of the safest out there. The benefits of going with ATD are:

  • 7 days to summit (+1 more than our competitors) meaning better acclimatisation.  Benefit – participants will feel better with our ascent profile and have a much better chance of summiting.
  • We are open and transparent.  Benefit – no hidden costs and you know exactly what you get for your money ££££
  • A leader experienced at managing groups at altitude, and managing risk in wilderness environments.  Benefit – brings UK safety standards to the event, gives a higher chance of summiting  and reduces the health risks of climbing Kilimanjaro
  • An UK trained doctor with experience of working at altitude.  Benefit – dramatically reduces the risk of serious injury or death due to altitude related illnesses
  • Gammo bag and O2.  Benefit – immediate treatment for life threatening Cerebral and Pulmonary Oedema, reducing the risk of death.
  • Route is chosen for rapid decent.  Benefit – means better casevac options and reduced risk of serious complications resulting from altitude related medical conditions
  • Fully inclusive – need to list all of the inclusions and tally them up to give the potential hidden costs of other suppliers.  Benefit - no hidden costs ££££.
  • Flights into Kilimanjaro airport saving 7 hours of transfers.  Benefit – Chance to recover from the long haul flight leading to a better chance of summiting.
  • Porter protection.  We ensure that local staff are paid a fair wage.  Benefit – peace of mind, and ethical
  • Local agent with 30 years experience – benefit – Peace of mind, slick and well run event.
  • 100% safety record on the mountain, even with some incidences of serious illness.  Saved lives of other groups that did not have the same high level of support.  Benefit – the highest medical support offered should you fall ill.
  • High levels of support, advice and knowledge given to participants.  High focus on getting you prepared fully for your challenge.  Benefit – better chance of summiting.

Book now!

Trekker of the month – Tricia McGrath

Our trekker of the month is Tricia McGrath, who has now completed two treks with Across the Divide.  We asked Tricia some questions about her treks, motivation plus much more.  

1.       What made you want to do a charity challenge?

I’d done one before to Patagonia for Dublin Simon but this time I wanted to do it for another charity, Barretstown

2.       Why did you choose Peru? 

Peru has been on the wish list for some time, mainly because of Machu Picchu and the history of the Inca people. Also of the choice of open charity hikes Peru was top of the list. Some of the people on the Patagonia hike had glowing reports of the Peru trip so that also made the decision easy.

3.       Why did you choose ATD?

I’d been on a previous hike with ATD in Patagonia and really loved the way they plan and deliver the hike. It’s first class all the way, camping, food, knowledge, local guides etc etc. In addition I’ve always felt safe and looked after on their hikes.