As I sit here writing this I have just 50 days before I take on the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge (W3P). Now this is only 17 miles of walking and 5000 feet of climbing spread over three mountains with approximately 4 hours of driving between each. It does not sound like much but the last time I took on anything nearing this was 25 years ago. Since then my arthritis and weight has increased and my fitness levels had fallen following my stroke.
Despite all of that I had been working hard to get back to the levels of fitness I enjoyed 3 years ago. Walking virtually every weekend trying my best to get close to 20 miles per weekend, plus weight and stepper training to build the stamina in my legs. My training schedule is going well and I am on target to be up to fitting fitness by the beginning of July when the W3P happens.
Yet I have a huge dark cloud hanging over me – I am constantly doubting my ability to undertake all that I have set myself up for this year. It is not just the Welsh Three Peaks but the Yorkshire Three Peaks and the Alternate Three Peak challenges, it is also the pressure to get the £2500 I have said I will raise for Parkinson’s UK. There are times when I feel that I will never complete any of the challenges let alone all of them.
That was until Saturday 13th May 2017 (yesterday)
I was attending a workshop on Public Rights of Way, and unbeknown to me the guest speaker was Everest summiteer – Bonita Norris. This woman had summited Everest when she was just 22 years old, only 2 years after taking up hill-walking and climbing.
What Bonita achieved was amazing but this was nothing compared to the demons and mental challenges she had to over come to reach the top of the world. Throughout her presentation it became very clear that she was physically and technically capable of taking on Everest. It was however, her mind that was holding her back – constantly putting doubt in the way and the greatest mind control of them all FEAR.
It was her mentors and expedition leaders, Kenton Cool and Robert Casserley who helped her overcome her fear and doubts and prevent her from turning back. Her mantra was ‘just take one step’ – don’t look at the whole mountain just that one step ahead of you, then the next and so on.
Her talk was one of the most inspirational lectures I had attended, even beating lectures by the great Everest summiteers of the 1970’s Sir Chris Bonnington, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston. It made me realise that the only thing getting in my way was ME.
I now know that come the 4 July when I leave Pen y Pass car park I will have the three elements that I need to succeed:
- Drive – the compelling wish to succeed and raise money for Parkinson’s UK
- Fitness – the ability to be able to walk the distance and climb the height
- Inspiration – to know that all I need to do is take ONE STEP AT A TIME.
All I need to do now is raise the money – so if you wish to help please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/triple-three-peaks