Harry McAlinden undertook his exceptionally physically demanding challenge on Monday 23rd January 2015, successfully running up and down Mount Kilimanjaro in well under 24 hours in aid of Headway Jersey.
The longstanding Headway Jersey supporter, aged 56, completed the challenge in just 18 hrs 30 mins, a phenomenal 5 and a half hours quicker than anticipated. Harry’s challenge has raised over £4000 through public donations, sponsorship and a variety of fundraising events and initiatives organised by Harry’s very supportive girlfriend Elizabeth Philips.
Harry arrived in Tanzania on Thursday 12th February and 10 days of intensive training commenced immediately. Simon Mtuy, extreme athlete and world record holder of fastest unsupported ascent and descent of Mount Kilimanjaro provided 1 to 1 training and support throughout the challenge.
Simon prepared a rigorous training regime that included daily runs of up to 35k to ensure Harry was as prepared as possible and could physically acclimatise to the mountain terrain. Climbing the highest mountain in Africa is a tough challenge in itself taking most people at least 6 days to complete the trek. The majority of the challenge was done at altitude – 3000 metres above sea level and undertaking any exercise at this level can have a tremendous impact on the body, considerably affecting breathing, physical ability and mental agility due to the thin air. Regardless of how fit or prepared a person is, running at high altitude is incredibly demanding and rigorous training and preparation are essential. Weekly cliff path marathon length runs and participation in the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon in Borneo were included in Harry’s training for RunKili 2015.
Harry stated that the training was a massive challenge in itself and that he was completely exhausted by the end of each day. Eight days into his training, Harry experienced altitude sickness and feared that he may not be able to go ahead – luckily this was relatively short lived and he was back on his feet within 24 hours. Harry said that this was his toughest challenge yet, but he feels blessed and lucky that he is in a position to undertake fundraising for a charity so close to his heart.
A huge thanks goes to Harry from all at Headway Jersey – we are all so proud of this fantastic achievement!
Special thanks to Digby Ellis- Brecknall, Fit2Function, Round the Rock, Hare and Tortoises Events, Mel Owers Decorators and Viera Hugo Construction for their generous support.