Today Richard Parks is climbing Pen y Fan in Wales as many times as possible in 24 hours as he continues his preparation for his gruelling 737 Challenge. Richard will be joined by a special support team from Project Mobility 4x4, a charity who convert Land Rovers to help conquer fears and mobility issues and give our injured soldiers the chance to have an adventure, experience and regain their independence. Richard Parks is the former Welsh International and Barbarian flanker, who was recently forced to retire from professional rugby due to a career ending shoulder injury. In December 2010 Richard will start the unique, multi discipline 737 Challenge. A gripping 7 month expedition to climb the 7 Summits, which are the highest mountain on each of the world's continents, and venture the last 2 degrees to The South Pole and the last degree to The Geographic North Pole. All against a 7 month clock!
Parks set off from the Storey Arms at 5am. Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales. Situated in the Brecon Beacons at 886 metres (2,907 ft) above sea-level, it is also the highest peak in Britain south of the Snowdonia mountain range. The mountain is used by the military for training and selection processes. Climbing the first run up the mountain with Richard will be Captain Anthony Harris of A Company, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and now a single leg amputee who was injured when the Jackal vehicle he was patrolling in was blown up by an IED in Sangin in May 2009.
The training exercise will give Richard the opportunity to prepare mentally for his training expedition to Tibet next month, when he will most definitely be faced with long periods of deprivation. His ability to perform with little or no sleep is vital to his success over the gruelling seven month challenge. He met many of the soldiers involved in Project Mobility 4x4 when he was invited to share his challenge with customers of Allmakes 4x4 at the Billing Land Rover Show this month. Richard was humbled by their stories and was thrilled when many of the guys could join him for this 24 hour event, 'I can’t wait for today and I am honoured to have the support of the Project Mobility 4x4 personnel' stated Richard.?He added, 'I was impressed meeting the guys from Project Mobility; their stories, courage, determination and sense of humour were awesome and an inspiration. Unbelievably, for me, they were all enthused by my 737 Challenge. A lot of people think I must be crazy when I talk about the aspects of the expedition but they all totally got it and were really supportive.'? ?
For Single Leg Amputee Anthony Harris, this will be the first arduous challenge since losing his leg, he said, “The most important thing for me today is supporting Richard’s challenge. It’s great that he is doing this exercise with us to show support for many wounded soldiers and highlight the work that Project Mobility 4x4 do and also that he is raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.' He added, 'Richard talked about an injury ending his rugby career and the need to challenge his body again through adventure which I really relate to and it’s fantastic that not only can these challenges and adventures make your own life more interesting but at the same time through doing this you can improve the lives of others.'?
If Richard is successful he will become the first person to have stood on the 3 Poles, namely The South Pole, The Geographic North Pole and the summit of Everest, in the same calendar year, and set a new benchmark in the climbing of the Seven Summits. He also aims to raise £1million for Marie Curie.
For more information visit;
www.projectmobility4x4.org click here for Project Mobility
www.facebook.com/737Challenge click here for 737 Challenge
twitter.com/737challenge click here for twitter
www.737challenge.com/ click here for 737 Challenge
www.mariecurie.org.uk/ click here for Marie Curie