If you are looking for a reason to get fit in the wake of the excesses of the festive season, then how about climbing the three highest mountains in the UK in 24 hours. Entries are now being invited for the annual Vanco Three Peaks Challenge, which gives teams of IT professionals the chance to reach the peaks and raise money for charity.
This year, the climb will take place over the weekend of 21-22 July. As usual, teams will be challenged to raise a minimum of £5,000 for charity Children's Aid Direct by climbing the heights of Ben Nevis (1,344m), Scafell Pike (977m) and Snowdon (1,085m) in 24 hours. Each leg of the challenge consists of approximately 12km of walking and the total ascent for the three mountains is 3,300m.
The challenge is within reach of any person of average fitness, although it is more enjoyable if you prepare. To this end, the charity provides a 10-week fitness training programme.
Alex Brooks-Johnson, Children's Aid Direct's corporate challenge manager, explains, "It is aimed at taking people from a level where they don't exercise to a fitness where they can complete the challenge. It is based around gaining stamina and cardio-vascular fitness. But it is vital to get into the mountains as the only thing that really prepares you for walking up hills is walking up hills. Nutrition before and during the challenge is also something that participants should pay attention to."
Teams need to comprise seven hikers and at least two drivers/support people, who will transport the teams between mountains and make sure the hikers all get fed and watered.
Last year, despite problems created by the foot and mouth disease outbreak, which severely restricted access to the mountains, 19 teams made the climb. They raised a total of £126,000. The winning team was Marsh Communications, which completed the course in 22 hours and 48 minutes.
This year there are a maximum of 35 team places available. The event does book up very quickly so teams are encouraged to register early.
For more information on the Vanco Three Peaks Challenge go to
www.challengeseries.co.uk http://www.carechallenge.org.uk/IT or call 0118-953 3238.