Friday, 17 April 2009

Manaslu- World Record Attempt

A massive development on the Everest front- i am now on an expedition to become the youngest person in the world to attempt a summit of Manaslu- the world's eighth highest mountain.

The change from Cho-Oyu to Manaslu has come because of problems with the Chinese Goverment in Tibet, so we are switching to Manaslu in Nepal- which is great as it means i get to attempt a world record- not just a British one!

The expedition is set to be fantastic- Manaslu is a beautiful mountain but quite remote, i'm going to be climbing with a great team and to say i'm excited is an understatement! It's difficulty is rated the same as Cho Oyu, so i am pretty confident that success is within our reach- just got to keep working on those lungs and thighs!


The expedition leaves on the 28th August and returns mid October. I am starting to amass the many items of kit needed for a Himalyan expedition- boots, crampons etc. Only 4 months now until i leave from Heathrow!


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Some great news this week on the publicity front- a great friend of mine Mr Greg Double decided one morning (without telling me) that he was going to kick off my publicity campaign! He called me up and barked down the phone:

'Bonita, it's Greg- the Wokingham Times are going to call you today, oh and BBC South Today want to do a piece on you as well. Oh, and I've phoned Louise at Cosmo (i.e. Louise Court- Editor of Cosmopolitan) and she wants to run a piece- how much do you love me?!'

Thanks Greg, a lot! So watch out for a feature on myself in the Wokingham Times in the near future (next two weeks), and i'll you updated on Cosmo and South Today- woo!

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On the training front, the ante was upped again recently when myself and Mr Ray the Rayman (aka Tom) decided to try out the 22 mile Exe To Axe in Devon- at over 4000ft vertical gain, it topped the Grizzly and the London Marathon by miles, and is most certainly the hardest race i've ever done.

It was an awesome weekend and great to get away for a few precious days from the looming essay deadlines. We headed down there with no directions and no idea of where our B&B was- typical! All was fine though, and after we loaded up on food- Tom a large fish and chips (!!) and myself boil in the kettle pasta, it was bed by 11 and up at 7- Tom for a large fry-up, me for a bowl of Alpen.

Soon we were on the bus with the other hundred or so souls who were all donned in lycra (inc. me), except for Tom- who wore his Rugby kit, right down to his socks...

The bloke next to him actualy burst out laughing in his face when the Rayman admitted he'd eaten fish and chips and a fry-up for fuel. This 'vet' of the Exe To Axe then spent to entire journey telling us how bloody tough the route was- by this point i wanted to be sick, the nerves had kicked in! Don't worry, in the end both of us beat him- Tom by about an hour!

I wont go into details of the race itself- other than that it was absolutely stunning. It was a hard fought view though- it's difficult to quantify 4000 vertical feet unless you've ran it in one go- i can't even describe how much pain i was in- Tom told me he actually collapsed twice!

The heaving lungs, dizzy head (it was so hot everyone got badly dehydrated and sun burnt) and burning legs lead to a fatigue that i have never experienced before- but even though i was nearly fainting from dehydration, my legs screaming in pain- i was still running! it was a euphoric moment.

The finish was fantastic- Tom was already there chilling, we both felt good and before we knew it those thoughts of 'i'm never running a race again!' (normal when you're in the midst of pain 18 miles in) are quickly forgotten and the worry of whether we COULD even finish was behind us- in Tom's own words: BOOM!


So, another 20+ mile race down, my forth so far this year. Next up is the Exmoor Coastal Marathon on the 9th May, 28 miles and 8000ft vertical gain! Running with Rob and Stu (http://www.ocean2summit.com/), will keep you updated on how we do there...

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The Lovely Steve Ramsden has been helping me in the past week with getting a short film together on my training so far- here are some stills from the short, and it will be posted as soon as it's done. Look out for it on here or on South Today when it airs- i'll keep you posted.




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Finally, a shout out to Kenton who is currently in Kathmandu after a pretty rushed last couple of hours in the UK!
KC turned up at my house at 4 (has to be at airport for 6) having not even packed yet- despite the fact that he's embarking on an Everest expedition! As is the life of the very busy Mr Cool.

Needless to say the hallway was carnage for the next half an hour as Kenton ripped open box after box of gear ready to be packed and ready to go to Heathrow. We made it in good time- and as i drove back home all i could think was- i'll be going next year! (well, hopefully in a more organised fashion!)

Keep up to date with what's happening on the big E this year at http://www.dream-guides.com/, good luck to Kenton and his (top secret!) client- we should be hearing about a summit attempt in mid-May!

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