Final training weekend prepares challengers for Everest

ON A cold weekend at the end of January, 20 determined and exhausted charity fundraisers completed the final official training camp for the upcoming LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge which is raising money for Wooden Spoon.

The LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge takes place across 24 days, between 13 April and 6 May 2019. The group will tackle heights of 6,500 metres to play both the highest game of full contact rugby and the highest game of mixed gender touch rugby in history. The challenge aims to raise £200,000 for Wooden Spoon. Wales’ leading try-scorer Shane Williams and England Women legend Tamara Taylor will be team captains on the Challenge.

Ben Nevis training weekend Jan 2019

Final official training camp on Ben Nevis prepares challengers for Mount Everest.

On Friday evening, the challengers met in Fort William, Scotland, for two full days of hill climbing to test their levels of fitness, bond with their team mates and try out their mountain gear. The training, led by expedition experts Adventure Peaks, began on Saturday with a six-hour hike up Ben Nevis to the famous CIC hut (680 metres). On Sunday, they had another early start, where they climbed to 925 metres at the Munro Stob Corrie Raineach.

The team, led by expedition leader Carrie Gibson with support from team Captains and England Rugby superstars Ollie Phillips and Lee Mears, included men and women ranging from their 30s to 70s with various levels of fitness. They stuck in and came through united and ready to take on Mount Everest in April.

LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge, Expedition Leader, Carrie Gibson said: “Acclimitisation is key at Everest which is why we take our time to make the ascent to where we will play the matches above Advanced Base Camp. Altitude sickness can be tough, and it is important to take things slowly so we can ensure the team arrive ready to play the game, healthy and fit.”

Challengers also learnt more about how Wooden Spoon will spend the £200,000 raised by the challenge. Sarah Webb, CEO at Wooden Spoon, said: “By taking part in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge, our challengers will be helping us towards our vision of ensuring every child and young person, no matter what their background, has access to the same opportunities through the power of rugby.

“Money raised can go towards funding a children’s hospice bedroom, enabling exhausted parents to have much needed sleep, knowing their poorly child is in safe hands or a it could fund a community project that helps support young people, living in difficult circumstances, back into education, training or employment.”

LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge Team Captain, Lee Mears said: “I am looking forward to taking the team to the top. It’s dry January and we’re in good shape. We’re looking forward to getting to Everest and seeing some snow.”

David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange Group commented: “A trek up Mount Everest is daunting enough, but these star players have chosen to go one step further to try and break two world records whilst juggling an oval ball. This resilient team of men and women is coming together to take on a challenge, something that has never been attempted before, in support of a fantastic cause.

“We are proud to be the prime sponsor of the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge and will be enthusiastically cheering the players on as they work to set world-records and fund life-changing projects for children and young people. Rugby is a game of integrity, hard graft and teamwork. The values and spirit that drives Wooden Spoon and all of those involved in the challenge are those that we too hold dear at LMAX Exchange, making us a natural partner. LMAX Exchange is committed to driving positive change not only in financial services, but also broader society.”

Support us in the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge to help change the lives of children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage across the UK and Ireland – Text Everest5 to 70085 to donate £5.