Friends smash £1k fundraising target by scaling Mount Kilimanjaro
PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 28 October 2019
A pair of fitness fanatics have scaled Africa's highest mountain - raising more than £3,000 for charity.
Friends Jamie Marlow of Maud Gardens, Barking, and Shaun Feeney from Billericay completed the week-long trek up Mount Kilimanjaro - 5,895 metres above sea level.
Jamie, recalling the moment the pair reached the summit, said: "It was really emotional. It was absolutely amazing. You touch the summit and think, 'Wow, we did it'."
To get there the pair battled four days of constant rain, altitude sickness and a final nine and a half hour overnight trek to the top carrying up to 20 kilos of gear including sleeping bags, spare clothes and thermals.
"We did it at night because the hike up to the summit is so overwhelming. If you were to see it in the day, you wouldn't want to do it because it's so high," Jamie explained.
Once at the top, Shaun buried an action figure toy for his baby son Ethan in the hopes he will follow in his dad's footsteps by taking on the challenge when he's old enough and finding it again.
You may also want to watch:
The journey, which saw Jamie and Shaun do more than 200,000 steps in seven days, began with a flight to Tanzania on October 13 followed by an SUV ride to a hotel in the regional capital Moshi.
After a night's rest, Jamie, 25, and Shaun, 29, set out as part of a group of eight plus guides and porters, taking the Machame route up the mountain.
The pair, who have completed 40 Tough Mudder endurance events, motivated each other to break through walls of pain with a massive headache, shortness of breath and nausea making the last stage of the summit particularly hard for Jamie.
But keeping their minds busy was the biggest challenge with the air thinning the higher up the pair got, making conversation difficult.
"When you get 5,000 plus metres above sea level, it's an indescribable feeling. You feel like your body is collapsing," Jamie said.
Once at the top, it took two days to get down, made worse for Jamie because of snow blindness.
But it was worth it with the pair smashing their £1,000 fundraising target, collecting £3,362 to date for the Make a Wish Foundation, which flew Jamie's cousin, Fletcher, and his family to Florida when he had brain cancer.
"We can't thank people enough for their support," Jamie said.