Mount Everest may stand thousands of miles away in the Himalayas, however two personal trainers will be doing their best to climb the equivalent distance in Edinburgh next weekend.
Alex Neilan and Babs Jamieson will climb Arthur’s Seat a thigh-busting 35 times in 48 hours to raise money for charity on September 1 and 2.
An Everest expedition usually lasts at least two months in order for climbers to acclimatise to the altitude, however a Nepalese Sherpa recently reached the summit in 10 hours and 56 minutes.
Robert Louis Stevenson once described Arthur’s Seat as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”, but the couple will be using the famous Edinburgh landmark’s modest magnitude to cover Everest’s 8,848 metres.
They are hoping to raise £5,000 for Make-A-Wish, the charity who “create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses”.
The couple met last November, after Neilan ‘spotted’ Jamieson in the gym. They had their first date up Arthur’s Seat.
Neilan explains: “We wanted to challenge ourselves and do something a little bit ridiculous and put our bodies really to the line.”
Lynn Taylor at Make-A-Wish said: “We are delighted to hear of this inspiring feat for Make-A-Wish!
“Children who are battling critical illnesses turn to us with the most unique wishes imaginable, and we just couldn’t grant those wishes without the generous support of fundraisers taking on challenges like this. Thank you to Babs and Alex for helping another child experience a life-changing wish.”
The pair are no strangers to fundraising. In 2016 Neilan raised £25,000 for Make-A-Wish by undergoing a series of challenges.
He took part in Tough Mudder, a gruelling event that puts entrants through a series of intense physical challenges, and carried a 20kg kettle bell around with him for a month. He recalls having to bring the weight along to a Tinder date.
This summer, the pair hosted a boot camp in Edinburgh’s Meadows, encouraging friends and passers-by to take part or donate towards their cause.
Jamieson said: “He’s much more into the crazy challenge thing than I am. He comes up with these mental ideas all the time.”
For every hour-long ascent of Arthur’s Seat, they will carry a balloon to the top. They hope to do 17 laps per day and have asked the Council for permission to camp at the summit on Saturday night.
Neilan explained: “We’re actually quite out of our comfort zones to be honest because neither of us are endurance people. So we generally focus on strength and short duration movements.
“I know well that we’re going to get through it, because we’re too stubborn not to. But it’s not going to be easy, we’ll have to be very well prepared.” Those who wish to donate can do so on their Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/companyteams/themeadowsmovement