Renowned mountaineer Kenton Cool will tackle a new challenge when he takes part in a 30-hour, 100km endurance event to raise vital funds for pioneering dementia research.
Kenton – who has scaled Everest more times than any other Briton and guided Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the summit – will take part in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Race the Tide fundraising event in September, trekking the length of the spectacular St Cuthbert’s Way in Northumberland. The climber was inspired to support the UK’s leading dementia research charity after losing his father to the condition in October last year.
Race the Tide covers a route stretching from Melrose in the Scottish Borders to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the Northumberland coast, and walkers will have 30 hours to complete the 100km challenge before the finishing point is cut off by the incoming tide. The event on 10 and 11 September will see participants walk through the night to reach the finish line, taking on some steep hill climbs and rough terrain along the way.
Kenton will take part in the event with his friend Andrew Kewley, who has also seen the impact of dementia in his family, and David Long, Head Coach at CrossFit in Cirencester, where the pair train together. Kenton has already helped to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK with a book signing at the gym to launch his autobiography, One Man’s Everest.
“When Andrew told me about Race the Tide I really wanted to support it, as it’s a cause that resonates strongly with him. Having seen my father’s battle with dementia, I also wanted to help support research into the condition. Modern medicine is fantastic and there have been great strides in research into conditions like cancer, now we need the same for dementia.
“I’m used to being out on the mountain for large amounts of time, but we don’t usually go for such long distances in one push, so I’ll have to do a bit of training to get ready! My dad was always proud of what I’ve tried to do with my climbing, and I like to think he would have been proud of this effort. He was a long-time champion of the community and did various walks to raise money for charity – I suspect that if he could have done, he would have wanted to be part of Race the Tide too.”
Kenton also gave his advice for people signing up and training for the event:
“It will be an amazing experience, but people shouldn’t under-estimate it, they have to be prepared and that means getting outside for some good long walks. You’re going to be outside for a long time on the walk, so you’ll need to get kitted out with the right shoes and clothing, including waterproof layers that don’t weigh too much because every gram will count to keep you light on your feet. The more you prepare, the more enjoyable it will be – that’s why you do these things, and by raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK at the same time, it’s that bit more special.”
Andrew, from Cirencester, was motivated to support Alzheimer’s Research UK after his father-in-law Ray died following a long struggle with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), at the age of 66. A rarer form of dementia that typically affects younger people, FTD causes distressing symptoms including problems with language and thinking, and behaviour and personality changes.
“Before Ray was diagnosed his symptoms had been coming on for some time, but at first it was put down to depression. Gradually it became apparent that it was something different – he would put the windscreen wipers on when he wanted to indicate, and hit the ball in the wrong direction when he played golf, something he loved. When the diagnosis came we were all shattered, but it explained his forgetfulness and the changes in his behaviour. The disease put a huge strain on my mother-in-law, Pam, and impacted on the whole family. We were heartbroken when Ray passed away but we’re determined to do everything we can to help Alzheimer’s Research UK because we want to give hope to other people – getting involved in Race the Tide is a fantastic way to do just that.”
Steve Frost, Head of Corporate Fundraising at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“We’re delighted to have Kenton and Andrew taking part in Race the Tide, and hope that lots of people will be inspired to join in this unique event. Every penny raised will be able to help provide vital equipment and resources for our scientists, bringing new treatments, preventions and a cure for dementia ever closer. With 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK, the need for research to defeat the condition has never been more urgent. Our scientists are leading the way in the search for new treatments, but we rely on the public to be able to fund this work. I would urge anyone seeking a challenge for 2016 to consider signing up to Race the Tide, to help support our pioneering research.”
For more information about Race the Tide and to sign up to take part, visit www.arukracethetide.org or call 0300 111 5 777. Registration fees to help to cover the cost of the event are £50.