Not many people would think of cycling round the UK in ten days. Even fewer would think following this with a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro could ever be a good idea. But, in the name of charity, Banking and Finance master’s student Scott McKenzie will be doing just this in April.
Whether it’s David Walliams swimming down the Thames or Eddie Izzard’s 27 marathons in 27 days, celebrity challenges are an established part of charity fundraising.
Less so for students, but McKenzie’s plan to follow a 1,000 mile cycle tour of the UK with a 20,000 feet climb up Kilimanjaro is certainly an impressive challenge.
McKenzie has set himself the Herculean endeavour to raise £3,000 for the charity Dig Deep, who build taps and toilets and work to improve sanitation and access to clean water in rural Kenya.
McKenzie’s plan to follow a 1,000 mile cycle tour of the UK with a 20,000 feet climb up Kilimanjaro is certainly an impressive challenge.
“The work that Dig Deep do is important to me because my dad and his family used to live in Africa and they saw first hand the effects of poverty on remote communities,” McKenzie explained.
“I think in this day and age we should be past the point where children have to walk six hours a day to collect water instead of being able to focus on their education. Eight out of ten people in the communities that Dig Deep go into don’t have access to clean water.
“The £3,000 that I am raising will make a huge difference and help hundreds of families to have a brighter future.”
A Deliveroo cyclist, McKenzie felt that merely climbing up Kilimanjaro wouldn’t be enough of a challenge, so added in a trip around the UK to the start of his itinerary.
“I decided that adding in this cycle would make my challenge more unique,” he offered by way of explanation. “I would gain more exposure, and hopefully this would lead to raising a lot of money for Dig Deep.”
Over ten days in early April McKenzie aims to cycle the 1,000 miles between John o’ Groats and Land’s End.
In August phase two of McKenzie’s quest kicks off as he begins his climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ascending the 20,000-foot mountain in Tanzania will take McKenzie up to Africa’s highest point. One of McKenzie’s friends who climbed the mountain for Dig Deep last year “found it to be a very rewarding experience,” and McKenzie is hopeful that his expedition can be as enjoyable as it is worthy.
McKenzie hopes his challenge will raise a total of £3,000, with over half of this going directly to Dig Deep. According to the charity’s website just £25 can give access to a safe and hygienic toilet to a child at school.
Knowing that he can have a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of Kenyan families is good motivation for the task ahead of McKenzie, but this will only get him so far. Even for a keen cyclist such as himself, a challenge on this scale requires a considerable amount of training.
McKenzie hopes his challenge will raise a total of £3,000, with over half of this going directly to Dig Deep.
“I have never done any long cycles before,” McKenzie admitted. “I am just working for Deliveroo cycling 50 miles on the longest shifts, but with the recent bad weather it has been really difficult to do any training at all!
“I think for this reason, and the fact that I am studying an intensive master’s course, this is a huge challenge for me to take on.
“I am also doing the Coast to Coast challenge with the University, which is 200km as a bit of a warm up for the big event.” The Coast to Coast ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth is an annual event for charity, with a large University team taking part each year.
That McKenzie is using the Coast to Coast ride as a warm up is testament to the scale of the challenge ahead of him.
To gather donations and sponsorship McKenzie has set up an online fundraising page, and his Facebook page keeps his fans and supporters updated of his progress. So far he has collected £380, over a tenth of the way to his total goal, but as the cycling trip draws closer McKenzie is stepping up the publicity around his challenge.