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Meet Mike Reynolds. He's climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of RPT.

Meet Mike Reynolds. He's climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of RPT.

Mike Reynolds is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of the Rory Peck Trust. We sat down to speak with him about his preparation for the climb and why he's fundraising to support freelance journalists.

Donate to Mike's JustGiving page and support the Trust

RPT: Hi Mike. You're going to be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in support of the Rory Peck Trust - can you tell us when the climb is and how long you are expecting it to take?

Mike: I'm leaving on the 14th of March and I'll be back in the UK on the 24th. The climb itself is eight days total, six up, and two back down again. Apparently, the last day of the ascent is the toughest. You get up at 2am to reach the peak for sunrise and trek for a total of 13 hours. It's also my birthday on the 20th March, so I'll hopefully be celebrating at the top. 

RPT: That sounds like a stunning setting for a birthday! What sort of preparations are you going through to make sure you're ready for the climb? 

I’ve been going to the gym three or four times a week for a while, and have also been up to Snowdonia to climb Snowdon and Tryfann. The weather turned out to be so bad we had to turn back on both climbs. I almost got blown off the side of Snowdon! Hopefully the weather will be slightly better in Tanzania, although I’m not sure anything can prepare me for the altitude sickness and blisters I’m going to get on Kilimanjaro. Luckily I have comfy walking shoes!

RPT: Have you done any previous fundraising challenges or mountain climbs?

Mike: This is actually my first big fundraising challenge. Why not start with the highest mountain in Africa, right? When I was growing up, my grandparents were keen climbers so they used to take me on trips to North Wales – which were awesome. I’ve also climbed Mount Kerkis on the island of Samos and have been trekking in Lesotho, South Africa. Nothing this big though!

RPT: Sounds like you have a bit of experience. What makes Mount Kiliminjaro different, and what do you think will be the main challenges you'll face?

Mike: For me, I think the mental side to the climb is going to be the most challenging. Trekking for 8 hours a day at times is going to get monotonous, so I think it’s going to be important to keep my mind occupied. I think I’m going to have to take my iPod. The altitude is also something which concerns me slightly. There’s no way of knowing if it’s going to affect you until you’re there. Fingers crossed I’ll be okay, but I have heard some horror stories. Although I’ve tried to avoid speaking to people too much about the effects. Ignorance is bliss in this case!

RPT: How much money are you looking to raise?

Mike: I’m hoping to get to around £1500, but the more the merrier! January is a tough month to ask people for money, but in February people have no excuse!

RPT: You're a digital advertiser, so why the Rory Peck Trust? What's your connection to freelancers?

Mike: I first heard about the charity through some family friends. My parents attended the Rory Peck Awards and were really inspired. It was around the same time I initially wanted to do the climb so it was the perfect fit. It’s easy to sit at home watching the news without thinking about the people that are reporting from some seriously dangerous places. Having seen the work that the Rory Peck Trust does, and the support the charity offers freelancers, it was a no brainer!

RPT: Great to hear. Finally, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Mike: I grew up in in Kent, and went to Cardiff University. I studied Marine Geography, and have always been really interested in the oceans. When I left uni, I spent four months in South Africa working with great white sharks, which was an amazing experience! I was working for a marine research NGO, and was looking at the population of great whites in Mossel Bay. When I got back to the UK I lasted a cold winter as a Fisheries Officer, but am now much more comfortable in a warm London office working in the exciting world of digital advertising and research. I’ve lived in London for a year now, and whilst I’m not enjoying having to cook for myself, I love how much there is to do here. Too much sometimes!

RPT: Thanks for speaking to us Mike, and good luck with the climb!

Mike will be leaving for Tanzania on 14th March. You can support his campaign and the Trust by donating to his JustGiving Page.
Find out more about past fundraising events and how you can support the Rory Peck Trust here.

Top image: Mount Kilimanjaro, by Koen Muurling. Image on the right: Mike Reynolds

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