Simon’s mammoth challenge is a tribute to his dad Ian, who died of pancreatic cancer in November 2010 aged just 56. He also wants to raise awareness of the disease and raise money for research.
The National Three Peaks Challenge is a brutal challenge requiring excellent physical fitness, determination and logistics to successfully climb Ben Nevis in Scotland (1345m), Scafell Pike in England (978m) Mount Snowdon in Wales (1085m) in a single day, including the 462-mile travel between the mountains – and all on a debilitating lack of sleep.
Simon’s 24-hr challenge will take place on 12-13 September. His preparation has seen him complete over 400 miles of off-road training and climbing over 42,000 feet to build up the strength needed to complete the challenge. In the past month alone he’s completed successive training runs up all three mountains – and with Snowdon, twice in one day!
“Most of my preparation has been in pretty tough conditions with sideways rain, 50+ mph gusts and reduced visibility, but at least I know I can cope with practically anything the weather has to throw at me!” he says.
The determination and mindset to achieve his goal, which he teaches his clients through his own organisational improvement consultancy, Evolution Compliance and Management Solutions, has helped him approach the challenge and given him some flexibility to plan and complete the training.
“It’s been really hard going at times and I’ve had to really push myself but I remain focused on the goal. I’m going to run as much of the course as I possibly can, scrambling over loose rocks in places and trying to avoid injury, and I’m expecting that to be tricky when I’ll be sleep deprived! I’ll be doing Scafell Pike through the night which I find particularly foreboding, but there’ll be a full moon for company and the forecast is shaping up to be kinder than I’ve had in training. Facing a mountain on my own in the dark gives me a tiny sense of how it might feel to be given a life-changing diagnosis, and that will see me through to get the job done no matter what else comes my way. The cause is so important to me I’m committed to completing the challenge to the best of my ability in the hope we can prevent as many people as possible from having to experience that.
“My Dad is an inspiration to me and many people and we really miss him. He was always calm and laid back, nothing ever seemed to phase him. Even when he was diagnosed, he took it in his stride and we all took strength and reassurance from his attitude and dignity. He used to say ‘it’ll be reyt’ whenever we faced something tough and it has become his catchphrase.
“This is going to be the toughest thing I’ve ever done, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too. I’ve often thought of him smiling and saying ‘it’ll be reyt’ when training’s been hard and I know that on the day Dad will get me through any pain to keep going. My dad was given his biggest challenge and he met it head on – I want to do the same in my small way. No matter how tough this is going to be, it won’t be a patch on what my Dad went through.”
Simon’s uncle, Keith Pollard, will be driving Simon between each mountain. “My dad would be really pleased that his little brother was helping me out,” says Simon. “He’s a vital part of this challenge and I wouldn’t be able to do it without him and his support.”
If you can help Simon’s fundraising, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simonpollardpcrf