Hi, my name is Claire Barnes and I’m 31 years old. I live in Barnsley with my Husband and work for Barnsley Council in Sport and Active Recreation.
I’ve put off writing my challenge story until now because I didn’t think I had very much to say. I didn’t really know why I’d signed up for the trek, it just seemed like a good idea at the time and I didn’t know how much of a challenge it was going to be for me. This might have been due to signing up so close to the deadline and not giving myself any time to think about it.
I got married in April this year and up until then that was all I could think about. It’s only now that all the wedding planning is over and I have had time to think about other things, that it has starting to dawn on me just how hard this is going to be.
I know I’m not the fittest person in world but I wouldn’t say that I’m unfit either. Under normal circumstances walking the distances we are each day, although tiring, shouldn’t be much of a problem. When I factor in the altitude, having no idea how my body is going to react to it plus the many articles people keep sending me about people being stretchered off the mountain(!), it fills me with a fear that I wont be able to make it to the summit.
I’ve also realised how much I rely on my friends and family and that going anywhere without my Husband, Mum, Dad or Best Friend is going to be a challenge in itself for me.
I think this is my main reason for signing up – I’ve never really challenged myself. I don’t push myself physically, I just do what I know I need to do to maintain my fitness. No matter what I do, I always have my friends or family by my side for support, so I’ve never known if I could have done it without them.
Deep down I know that even if I don’t make it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro I will still personally have achieved a lot on this trip, just by being part of it, but my ultimate goal is still to make it to the summit.
Doing all this while raising lots of money for a good cause like the hospice is such a bonus and a massive motivation for me to give it my all.
I’ve just upped my training, I’m going walking (with my husband, one step at a time) at least once a week and spending a lot more time on the treadmill. Although I know nothing can prepare me for the effects of altitude on my body, I am determined to be as fit as I can be by the 1st October when with the rest of the team I start my ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, the worlds highest free standing mountain.