Amateur runners, Ben Walker & Thomas Needham, wanted to raise money for an Outdoor Adventure program at a special needs school by climbing Mount Everest. The only problem was they lived in Slaithwaite – a village near Huddersfield (England) – on the other side of the world. Furthermore, they had no way of getting to the Himalayas. Dream over. Forget it.
Not so quick. Hang on a minute. Ben & Tom were not for giving up easily. If they couldn’t go to the mountain, what was to stop them bringing the world’s tallest mountain to them?
At 3am, on the 5th September 2020, Ben & Tom began walking up Meal Hill – one of the steepest hills near Slaithwaite – in the darkness. They planned to walk up this same hill a grand total of 45 times in the same day. Why? Because this would be equivalent to walking all the way to the top of Mount Everest – a height of 8,848m – from sea level. Furthermore, they were going to achieve this remarkable feat in less than 24 hours!
Supported by members of their local running club – Slaithwaite Striders, Empire Brewing Company and friends and family – Ben & Tom set out on their mission.
After 7 climbs of the hill they had ascended 1,344m – the same height of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. After 15 ascents they had walked up the height of Mount Olympus – but there was still another 30 daunting climbs to go! Yet they refused to give up. Even though Ben had described it as a “silly, ridiculous, stupid” event – they pushed on, determined to complete what they had started. The only way was up. They finished their last ascent at midnight.
Far from being a “stupid” event, this had now become an important, hugely inspiring, selfless act to provide others with outdoor experiences of their own.
Through their exploits Ben & Tom raised £100 on the day for the Southgate School Outdoor Adventure program.
The saying goes “if you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way”. But this was no small thing. This was an example of “if you can’t do great things in the usual way, do great things your way”.
Ben & Tom’s achievement also shows the power of thinking (and acting) like a runner to achieve success and happiness in whatever we want to do in life.
They demonstrated (just like runners) the benefits of having a clear purpose, having the courage to leap into something (not knowing how it would end), enjoying the moment (no matter how challenging things become), staying focused with a bubble mentality (shutting out negative voices), doing their best, managing their energy, experiencing a sense of freedom and having the mental strength to keep going.
Why wouldn’t we want to deploy this powerful, runner’s mindset to achieve our dreams in everyday life?
Above all, Ben & Tom showed how you can experience new situations without needing to travel and how, with the right mindset, we can achieve whatever we put our minds to. They also reminded us that it is the struggle we go through that makes life meaningful.
And just like the climbers that ascend to the summit of the real Everest, their memories will stay with them, their supporters and the children who will now be going on an outdoor adventure holiday – forever.
If you can’t do great things in the usual way, do great things your way.
September 8, 2020