With the advent of The 2.6 Challenge, it was no surprise to any of her colleagues that Rachel was the first to take up the reins and take on a challenge, here is what she did.
"With coronavirus putting a stop to many events and challenges and keeping many of us inside our homes, what’s an outdoors and fitness enthusiast to do…? I love nothing more than being up in the mountains, and on Sunday 19 April 2020 I was meant to be supporting Meningitis Now’s Three Peaks Challenge participants on their training walk in the Brecon Beacons.
“Unfortunately, both the training walk and May Three Peaks Challenge had to be cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with huge restrictions in place on social distancing and non-essential travel. However, even with the Government’s direction to stay at home, that wasn’t going to stop me…
“The training walk generally follows an 11-mile route, starting at the Storey Arms and taking in the summits of Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn before dropping down to the reservoir and back up to the ridge of Craig-Gwaun-Taf. With a total elevation of around 1,033 metres, it’s a great chance for challenge participants - and Safety Team! - to test their stamina and kit before tackling the main event later in the year.
“So, with a full day’s worth of mountain gear, snacks and drinks in my rucksack, I took the first of many steps onto my staircase. With each flight comprising 13 stairs and totalling 2.6 metres of elevation, I would need to ascend and descend a slightly ridiculous 398 times to reach the 1,033 metres’ elevation of the Brecons walk. With a bit of help from my husband, I had a few ways to keep myself entertained, like a computer monitor at the top of the stairs showing a video of mountain scenery (so that I had some lovely views to look at and to enjoy a cup of tea from my Thermos in front of), and a counter at the bottom of the stairs to help keep track of how many climbs I had completed and how many were left.
“The challenge itself took just over three hot, sweaty hours to complete, which included a few breaks for snacks, tea, unexpected encounters with mountain goats (the husband, wanting to use the stairs!) and social media posts to keep friends and family updated. There is always such a strong, positive team spirit on the Brecons training walk and Three Peaks Challenge, and receiving support digitally was both a massive morale boost and a great distraction!
“The best morale boost of all though is that, at the time of writing, I’ve raised over £1,050 for Meningitis Now, to help them continue to support anyone in the UK who has been affected by this life-changing and often devastating disease.
Staircase Three Peaks
“So what’s next? Well, with the May Three Peaks Challenge unable to go ahead in the great outdoors, I’ll be lacing my walking boots once again for Staircase Three Peaks on Friday 15 May and starting with Stair-don at 10:00am (276 flights of stairs), following up with Stair-fell Pike (359 flights) at 10pm - complete with head torch - and finishing with Ben Stair-vis (a leg-trembling 512 flights!) from 11:00am on Saturday 16 May. Fancy virtually joining me…?”
You can follow Rachel’s progress on Instagram @racheloakley87 or visit her fundraising page for more information.