Tackle Everest like a true RMC

While you may not be jetting off to tackle the world’s tallest mountain for real, WO2 Paul (Gilly) Gillespie-Antal RM explains why this virtual climb can help cadets develop fitness, endurance and that all-important commando mindset

We know that our royal marines cadets love a challenge, and they don’t come much bigger than climbing to the top of Mount Everest.

While activities might be limited this autumn and winter due to the pandemic, you can follow these steps to take part in the Everest Challenge and before you know it you will have climbed the equivalent of the highest mountain in the world! 

Step 1

“As the days get darker, we tend to withdraw into our homes and become less active. I find setting a goal or challenge really helpful. It gets you outside and gives you something to aim for. The Everest Challenge is tough but simple: climb the equivalent of Mount Everest in 12 weeks using a fitness tracker to record your achievement.”

Step 2

“The Everest Challenge is a brilliant substitute for the activities you may have missed out on this year, to help you build and maintain fitness and endurance. I’ve really missed the gym but if the lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need equipment to stay fit. You can do bodyweight exercises, go for a run, skip, get on your bike or sign up for the Everest Challenge to stay fit and healthy. You don’t need to head off to Helvellyn or Ben Nevis to take part: you can complete your 8,848m elevation gain through hill runs – or simply walk up and down the stairs!”

A Cadet at the Gibraltar Cup
Competing for the Gibraltar Cup is one of the toughest challenges for an RMC

Step 3

“There’s no denying the Everest Challenge is a huge task but if there’s one thing that sets RMCs apart, it’s endurance. The notorious Royal Marines Endurance Course – with its two miles of tunnels, pools, streams, bogs and woods – measures just that. Being physically fit is all well and good, but when you’re placed in tough conditions, it’s endurance that helps you go that little bit further. The course tests recruits’ ability to keep going. Climbing 8,848m in 12 weeks will certainly put your endurance to the test.”

Muddy Cadets at the Gibraltar Cup looking happy
Muddy royal marine cadets at the Gibraltar Cup competition

Step 4

“If times get tough, use your training and tap into the core RMC spirit: courage, determination, cheerfulness in adversity and unselfishness are ingrained in all commandos and the principles that we all try to live our lives by. Having that mindset – being the first to understand, the first to adapt and respond, and the first to overcome – helps us to recognise our own strengths and weaknesses, which ultimately helps us to improve.” 

Cheerfulness in adversity and unselfishness
are ingrained in all commandos

WO2 Paul (Gilly) Gillespie-Antal RM

Step 5

“The Everest Challenge is also a brilliant way to raise vital funds for Sea Cadets, so more young people like you can experience orienteering, boating, parading and other life-changing experiences. All you need to do is register at the Run for Charity website then walk or run the equivalent 8,848m elevation gain within 12 weeks. Track your progress with a fitness tracker or phone app (like Fitbit, Garmin or Strava) and send your entry to virtual@runforcharity.com.”

RMC's marching at the Trafalgar Day celebrations
Royal marine cadets marching at the Trafalgar Day parade

Step 6

What are you waiting for? To take part just register online here. You can sign up from 1 November and registration closes on 30 November. It costs £13 to register and every person who completes the climb will receive a medal and a  digital certificate. It’s open to all cadets and volunteers. Good luck!

A picture of Everest

Mount Everest: facts and stats

8,848
Mount Everest stands at an impressive 8,848m above sea level

1/3
Air pressure is a third less up there, reducing your ability to breathe in oxygen

1953
The year the first human reached the summit of Mount Everest

17
Number of routes to the summit, although most climb one of two routes

9,159
The number of successful summit climbs, as recorded at the end of 2018

6
The official summit is the size of a dining table and can accommodate just six climbers

60 million
Scientists estimate Everest as 50 to 60 million years old – quite young in mountain years

1
Mount Everest is the highest point on earth – 237m higher than K2

Register here for the Everest Challenge!

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