When we found out that one of our newest ambassadors Gabby, was just about to climb Everest (off the back of running the London marathon) we HAD to find out more - why is she doing it, what exactly will she be doing, and what kind of preparation does someone need to do! Read on...
So you’re off to climb Everest! Amazing! When do you leave and what’s your itinerary?
I'm really excited for this, but also a little nervous. It's been a long time coming since 2020, with all the Covid restrictions and rescheduling due to races. We fly out on Thursday 4th May, via Doha, arriving in Kathmandu on Friday. Then, it's a day to explore the city with the group on Saturday before we head off to Ramechap (1,218m), where we'll spend one night in tents. The next day, we'll fly to Lukla, which is where the real adventure begins. The journey to Basecamp and back takes 12 days and involves several days of acclimatisation.
What inspired you to climb Everest?
I like to think that Mark & I are a fairly adventurous couple. Back in 2020, I was looking for somewhere to stay in the UK on his birthday - a staycation type of thing, maybe with some hiking opportunities. The prices were absolutely ridiculous back then! I knew EBC was on his bucket list, so, as a joke, I checked what it would cost. And weirdly enough, it wasn't much more than a three-day weekend in a caravan with no loo in the Cotswolds. And here we are 3 years later!
Who will you be going with?
I'll be going with my now fiance, Mark. We're joining a guided group through Skyhook Adventure. I figured I'd need someone to carry me up the mountain, and he seemed like the perfect candidate.
What peaks did you climb to gain experience?
This is where I'm a bit worried. We both train quite intensely – I just went through what was probably my hardest training cycle for the London marathon (the race itself was equally hard) and Mark is forever in training for various Ironman things. This meant that there has not been a lot of time to dedicate to climbing peaks - we did conquer Pen y Fan in December and the Horseshoe last summer, as well as spent some time in the Lake Disctrict the summer before that, so aren't complete novices. Fingers crossed that all the fitness gained from other training will be transferable!
What do you think will be the biggest challenge during the ascent?
For me, I think it will be the cold. I'm an absolute wimp when it comes to cold weather, so I have splurged out on warm gear. At the moment in Lukla, which is basically day two of the journey, it's between -3 to +3 degrees C. Going up it'll only get colder, eek! That and the altitude, I've no idea how my body will respond to that, so I will be taking all the advice to avoid altitude sickness.
What kind of equipment and gear are you taking with you, and how did you decide what to bring?
I stalked quite a few people on IG, read a couple of books, looked online and asked around as a few friends have been. On my account @gabbyrunsandeats I've shared a couple of posts and started compiling a Story highlight of all the kit - it's a lot of layers, hydration tabs and protein snacks. Grenade Oreo is the GOAT (#notsponsored!). It's all got to fit into an 8kg backpack that a sherpa will carry + my daypack, so not a mean feat for someone who likes to have at least three different outfits a day (I'm only bringing 3 pairs of socks!).
What's the most unusual item you're bringing with you to Everest?
There's not an awful lot of creativity, as I'm trying to keep things as light as possible, but we're taking a resistance band to keep up some sort of strength training. It wasn't on any lists that I saw, so I suppose that makes it the most unusual?
How do you think this experience will change you, both physically and mentally?
It's really hard to say, but part of me wonders whether it will be the start of a new hobby (addiction?), ha! And, I think, much like any challenge, be it training for a marathon PB or stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve something professionally, it will test & stretch me. But once it's done, I hope there'll be a certain newfound confidence and personal growth that will encourage me to believe in myself when taking on future challenges and when things get tough. When I get back, I'll have a week before I go straight back into training for Tallinn Marathon in September, where I'd like to chase down a Boston marathon qualification - so I hope that it will convince me that #icandohardthings !
Finally (we have to ask!) what’s your favourite Pretty Athletic product?
Oh, for now, it's got to be the Cool Down Purifying Gel Cleanser. I love how it smells, I love how it feels and I love how smooth and hydrated it leaves my skin. I genuinely cannot wait to jump in the shower after a workout and slather it all over my face. 10/10.
Thank you so much and wishing you all the best! We cannot wait to do another Q&A with you when you're back!
For more follow Gabby at https://www.instagram.com/gabbyrunsandeats/
Do you have an Athlete Story you'd like to share? Please contact us and we'd love to hear from you x