After completing the Couch to 5K challenge last year, I needed to aim for something else. Something higher, like a summit or why not 3 summits. Especially with the knowledge that we were already down a quarter in 2022.
So in April, I came across Conqueror Challenges, which offers various long-distance challenges within the time frame you set yourself.
In May 2022, I found out I was pregnant and figured now was a good time to move and be healthy. After syncing up with my smartwatch, I was ready to go. Every time you log a walk it automatically syncs to your walking total and miles.
Apart from the fitness aspect, I decided to choose The Conqueror Challenges because It gave back to the planet. For every 20% of the distance you cover they either plant a tree or stop plastic from entering our oceans. You can pick your environmental impact while signing up for a challenge, which is something that really appealed to me!
How it started
Earlier in the year, I set out on two walking holidays, one in the Lake District (Rydall Caves) followed by a coastal path in Scotland (Portpatrick to Dunskey Castle). And I remember thoroughly enjoying these walking experiences.
The Conqueror Challenges offer a Mount Pack, covering 3 summits. They are Everest, Fuji & Kilimanjaro they seemed as the perfect gradual build-up towards long-distance walking. I signed up in early May and set myself the target of finishing by the end of my first trimester. Here’s the order I did them:
May: Mount Everest — A 40mi (64km) journey to the summits of the highest peak in the world.
June: Mount Fuji ― A 46mi (74km) journey to the summits of the highest volcano in Japan.
July: Mount Kilimanjaro ― 60mi (97km) through the beautiful landscapes of the tallest mountain in Africa.
Are we on the summits yet?
3months later I have completed my challenge and my first trimester! As you progress along the distance they email you postcards with information on what you’ve passed and everything you would be seeing; for Everest, this included temples, villages and key parts which was a nice touch. The app is user-friendly and you can see your progress across the route as well as the percentage you have completed, with some encouragement along the way!
I can definitely see these long-distance virtual events becoming a favourite of mine, as it’s such a good way to keep fit and active and to keep my mental health and wellbeing in check through this adventurous year! And to top it off, eight trees have been planted and 40 plastic bottles were stopped from entering the ocean, for my efforts.
I was walking for anything between 30 to 90mins, walking to places I always took the bus to just to clock in a few extra miles. For me, the incentive was celebrating my achievements with a stunning, limited edition finisher’s medals. The medals get mailed to you once you have completed the challenge and are guaranteed to stand out in your collection!
What was the first trimester like?
In all honesty, it did feel like a summit to conquer. While I didn’t have any morning sickness, I did have symptoms common to altitude sickness most mountaineers are well familiar with. Like dizziness, nausea, headaches, and some shortness of breath. And sometimes the days and weeks felt so very long, but when you reach the top (week 13) you feel incredible. Im going to enjoy this view from the top in my second trimester and all the sunsets and sunrises that come with it.
Then slowly but carefully climb down for my third trimester, in a way.. the baby and I shall descend together. And while I can’t control everything that happens on this mountain – the weather, the path, the circumstances, it makes me a better person knowing I can go with the flow and control my thoughts, it’s like meditation. It makes you so much stronger, physically and mentally. I am truly amazed at what our bodies are capable of.
Whats the next summit or trail?
Another reason for my motivation on taking on the challenge was, that it will be a while before I can travel outside the UK again, I’ve just applied for citizenship and now waiting on my new passport. However, by the time that comes through (Jan 2023) I’ll have my hands full with a newborn baby. I fully intend to introduce the travelling lifestyle to the lil one and already have its first holiday booked 3 months into their arrival.
It is hard to say whether this year will bring more local travels, but I will keep up the long-distance walking and am very tempted with The Lord of Rings challenge from The Shire to Mordor. Perhaps the baby will be the perfect companion, the Samwise Gamgee to my Frodo.
Interested to see how this trend continues to grow? Keep following the adventures of a tiny lady + 1 😉