Thursday, 21 May 2009

It's strange being back. You go and do something special, some would say life changing, and you get back and nothing has changed. People ask how it was, and the response is usually something like "awesome". Then they ask what it was like, and again I say something like "incredible", and "how good it was to get everyone up and back in one piece", and "how we won the game". I find it very difficult to answer these questions. Not that I don't have the answers, but that what we did was an experience that none of us will ever forget. Something that the 48 people, and the incredible work of the support team of Sherpa's, will ever forget. Putting this in to words is a challenge.

On the face of it we flew to Kathmandu, got another flight walked for 9 days, played a game of cricket and walked back. We had a couple of nights on the sauce when we got back, and ate rubbish food for the best part of 3 weeks. What more is there to say? I'm very modest when it comes to this sort of thing. and anyone who knows me, knows how I don't really like to talk about myself much, or about OUR achievements.

Here's what we did though:

We managed to get a group of 48 incredible people together, for an expedition we will never forget. We endured days of trekking, often in silence, and on limited food. We spent 2 weeks in the highest and most stunning range of mountains on the planet, climbed over 5000m, combated altitude sickness and rubbish banter from our mates. We laughed and smiled with hundreds of kids during the trip. We endured a grim virus that picked people of at random. We made some great friends, friends for life. We captured the world's imagination, and hit the headlines all over the globe. We broke a world record, and we raised in excess of £100k for charity, which will in turn bring happiness to thousands of kids across the UK and Nepal.

These are the highlights, but what I will remember most are the dark times. The times when some of us couldn't go on because of illness, when we walked 2 hours in the dark to catch up with the rest of the group, because we were stubborn, and that's what we had set out to do at the start of the day. The words of encouragement; the arm around you from the person you least expected giving you support. These were the times that I knew we were doing something special, not just the fund raising and the world record, but for me it was the Band of Brothers and Sisters that we will know as our friends for many years to come.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

OK, so it’s been a while since I updated the blog. I'm told that it makes good reading, even thought I didn't even make a podium finish from the last lot of blogs. Curry (judge) must be on a bung. This may prove to be beneficial as he is one of the umpires. Such a nice guy, very generous, incredibly funny with a heart of gold. I am lucky to have such a special guy in my life (not in the rose wine way - see previous blog).

So what has been going on since the Radio 2 interview? We went to Dartmoor, dressed as gorillas in a few cases, flew kites, cooked fried eggs on a hill, carried some earth up another hill, and carried some buckets of water from a stream, over said hill. All in all the competition ended in a 3 way tie, which seemed to be fair. Richard Kirtley (shameless relation) decided to get half naked (by that I mean just a tea towel) in the pursuit of additional points. Unfortunately Curry (bloody nice guy) didn’t see it that way, and although Richard was given a point for his antics, was immediately debited a point for being 'ridiculous'. Jamo is now scared for life - he didn’t expect to be winked at in such a remote place.

The following weekend was spent in the Brecon Beacons, and we were joined by some wonderful Trektators, who really added to the enjoyment of the weekend. And couple of Tenzing team came as well, consisting of an antipodean 'one trick pony', and a guy wearing a bright pink shirt driving his soft top hair dryer. Enough said.

It was absolutely stunning, the Saturday was spent mostly on logistics, meeting people, losing people, sliding on ice and snow, snow balls fights and rambling. To say we were impressed with the views we saw up there is an understatement. 3 feet of snow, clear blue skies, great company, a map a compass and a full belly makes for a great day. We almost summited Pen y fan, and there were some impressive views of Fan y Big (insert joke here). The weather closed in, and when we saw repeated flying of the rescue helicopter, we decided to turn back, about 100m short of the peak. Next time.

That evening, we ate some more (mostly curry), blew the fuse in the pavilion (where we were sleeping) slept, told jokes about rambling and walking, and attempted to self heat the pavilion. All part of the conditioning . . .

If anyone hasn't done the full waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons, please do so whenever you get the chance. It is breathtaking, the long walk, the steps and the rain were soon forgotten, for a while at least, when we walked under the waterfalls, while it was snowing. There are not many moments in your life when you see something that you have never seen before, and I just stood there, not saying much and thinking how lucky I am. About an hour later the 'one trick pony' and the shirt levitating tenzing members were whingeing again, but that is probably part of their conditioning. That and rubbish hair.

Since then it’s been pretty full on. One weekend off so far this year, and for me - I have no weekends free until mid-September. And to think that I'm single - I wonder why!! Still, there's the bigger picture regarding this, but that’s not always recognised. Never in fact! . . . .

So what next? More media (darling). I did a sound bite for Real Radio earlier this week, which will get played 4 times a day for the next few weeks. Apologies in advance for this.

And, most importantly I will be doing everything I can to reach my personal funding target of £10 000. If you haven’t donated yet, please do so. I can tell you as much as you like how hard it is going to be up there, playing cricket. Listen to Radio 1, and the celebrity team on Kilimanjaro, and ask them if they could play any sport where they are at the moment. This isn't to criticise their attempt in any way. To raise what I predict will be in excess of £2million by the time they get back will be and incredible effort for all involved.

That’s it for now, it’s been a busy few weeks, and we are building up to the Bath Half Marathon next weekend. If you are there, look out for the guy running in pads, with a rucksack. That'll be me, probably near the back.

Its PR darling, init?

Friday, 30 January 2009

That was it. The fifteen, or 3 in my case, minutes of fame.

It's been a great day, and now off to the gym before a 2 day training session in Dartmoor.

I'm David Kirtly, for Radio 2, in Cardiff.

Back to the studio . . . .

Sunday, 25 January 2009

I worked something out today . . I went for a run in the Brecon Beacons, following the river from Pontneddfechan, and taking in some of the stunning waterfalls. I was running for about 1 hour and 15 minutes and didnt feel knackred at all. . . .

Time flew by, I enjoyed every minute of it. And I realised that I was concentrating completely on two things. Firstly, not breaking my ankles on the rocks, stones, roots and branches lying before me, and secondly, when I wasnt looking down I was able to take in the stunning scenery. I didn't have the ipod on which made the experience even more satisfactory (and the fact it wasnt charged).

So some advice to anyone who is bored of the treadmill, the road, the park, the pavements or the track - get out more!

Monday, 19 January 2009

OK. First session in to the new programme, and i was sick! Not in a new, radical, street talk, teenager kind of 'sick'. I actually vomitted.

Is this a good thing?

Discuss . . . . .

Sunday, 18 January 2009

So I got my training schedule today from a 'mate' of mine. Initially the thought of it fills me with trepidation, hate (for my mate), and the thought of the countless hours in the gym, on the road, and everything else besides.

And then I think about it a little bit more. This expedition, indirectly, will allow me to be the fittest I will ever be upon departure for this expedition. I will be doing sessions that I never thought were possible. I will push myself harder than ever before. And you know what? It will be easy. Because the motivation is there, and the will to succeed is there. And my mate, well he's the same one who said to me many years ago "Your best friends are the ones that tell you the things that you dont always want to hear."

This one's for you. . . . mate.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

OK, so I've given myself 10 minutes to update the blog and to let you all know whats going on. My readership is down on numbers, but no doubt this will pick up!

Christmas has come and gone, the highlight being my Dad's Christmes present to my 6 month old nephew Ollie. A wooden spoon and a cake tin. Absolute genius, and further proof that the simplest of things can create a huge amount of enjoyment. Please take a minute out of your day to view the video, I absolutely guaruntee it will make you chuckle, especially the last few seconds where it all falls apart. Either that or he is going for the Rock and Roll finish and destroying everything in his path!

I spent a week in Morzine snowboarding, otherwise know as 'Altitude Training', which put huge demand on my body, liver and wallet. There were some memorable moments, not least a certain dance involving some toilet paper (about 34 inches long), a lighter, and half a pint of gin. It was at this particular moment that Guy fell off the sofa and broke his leg in 2 places. Not funny, especially when we sent him to bed, telling him to "Stop Whingeing" and "you've only sprained it". It wasn't until the next morning when he was in absolute agony, and upon arrival at the medical centre in Morzine, he threw up and promptly passed out.

The rest of us had a fantastic time. the sun was out, the snow was awesome, and the rose wine (hello sailor) was in full flow. Only real men can drink Rose wine. The same can be said for the shirt levetating Irish Coffee, which goes in the same ambiguous category.

Upon return, I had alcohol poisoning for about 3 days, which I beleive is proportional to our 7 day bender (bender having nothing to do with shirt lifting).

Since then, the training has been ramped up, and with about 100 days to go til the game there is still plenty to do. More shuttles to complete, miles to be run, weights to be lifted and that sick feeling i get when I train too hard. As Iwan Thomas (400m athlete) said " its only a good training session if you manage to make yourself sick".

Kit supplies have been sorted with MKK coming up trumps with the Teamwear. It looks awesome and a huge thank you should go to James and Roger for their generous support. NorthFace have also agreed to supply us with the expedition wear.

The press launch is due on january 27th, at which point I hope that you will see the Expedition and in I, in every publication you can lay your hands on.

Watch this space.