Many people have been trying to do the Mount Everest Challenge, which involves climbing Mauao 38 times (the equivalent of Mount Everest) in 50 days.
One Mount Maunganui woman has taken the challenge a step further - completing all 38 climbs in less than a day.
“I kind of left it until the last minute,” says interior designer Andrea Gifford. “I haven’t been up more than twice in a row before. Training-wise, I play netball and go the gym during the week, but I didn’t have much of a training schedule.”
Beyond that, her only other preparation was sitting down with a nutritionist the Thursday before to discuss what she should be eating on the day of the climbs to keep her energy up.
“Every half hour I had water, and every hour I had electrolytes. I also ate Nutella sandwiches along with fruit and muesli bars. That was for the first ten hours, and after that I ate whatever would get me through – mostly lollies and sugary stuff.”
Andrea started the gruelling climbs at 1am on Saturday morning, and finished up just before 11pm that night.
She says there wasn’t time for too many stops, although it started to get harder around midday, when she was halfway through and the midday heat was at its strongest.
“It felt like forever to keep going, but a lot of people arrived at that time to help cheer me on.”
Andrea says she would have been back at work on Monday, but ended up going to the A&E on Sunday to have her foot checked, after she woke up to find she couldn’t put any weight on it.
“I started to feel it hurt at around 2pm on Saturday, during the climb, and I took my shoe off at around 4pm and noticed a bruise. But everything hurts, so you don’t really notice. It turns out there were a few stress fractures in the foot.”
Other than that injury, the 24-year-old is fighting fit, and thrilled not only with her physical accomplishment, but also with the money she’s raised for charity.
“I’ve been blown away by the amount I’ve raised. I went in with a goal of may be $200 or $300, and at this stage I’m sitting at more than $2000, which is really amazing.”
All money raised by participants in this year’s Mount Everest Challenge will go to the Waipuna Hospice.