Martin Embarks On Mountain Challenge
Derby businessman Martin Griffiths is aiming to raise more than £5,000 for three local charities by tackling the tallest mountains in North Africa and the UK.
Martin, who is Managing Director of DE22 Creative Solutions in Friargate, will start his epic year long set of challenges starting on May 1 when he travels to The Atlas Mountains near Marrakech for an eight-day trip. He will climb to the summit of four mountains in The Atlas Mountains North Africa which are between 10,498ft and 13,396ft in temperatures as low as -19° Celcius. Later this year, he will then tackle the three peaks challenge Ben Nevis, Scarfell Pike and Snowdon, along with the Welsh Three Peaks Cadir Idris, Snowdon and Pen Y Fan, finishing later on in the summer with Carrauntoohil the tallest Mountain in Ireland.
Martin, who is an accomplished fell racer, has been training for several months for the trek – running up to 30 miles a week and climbing 6,000ft on rocky terrain to increase his fitness and stamina for the challenge ahead. His efforts will support Sight Support Derbyshire, YMCA Derbyshire and Heart Research UK. Martin said: “I have always had a huge amount of respect for mountaineers such as Derbyshire’s own Mick Fowler, Andy Kirkpatrick, Simon Yates. “Having recovered from injury, I have spent the past year getting back to full fitness and wanted to set myself a challenge which will hopefully raise money for three very worthwhile causes. “The trip to the Altas Mountains will take in four mountains – Toubkal, Timzguida, Ouanoukrim and Tizi n Izgarn. “These will each involve around six hour trekking before making the final ascent to peaks up 13,396ft which is daunting when you consider that Snowdon is just 3,559ft. “We are only able to carry about 20kg of luggage so I am concentrating on taking light but warm layers to cope with the extreme cold. “There will also be a chance to see something of Marrakech and we will be staying as a group in different villages and refugees in the mountain foothills along the way. “Hopefully the UK peak challenges will be a walk in the park compared to this challenge but nonetheless gruelling.”
Martin has been a keen fell runner for several years and has also completed a number of marathons – raising thousands of pounds for local and national charities. “I would say that fell racing is one of the most exhilarating sports that you can do and has prepared me for the mountain challenges.
A typical Mountain Marathon race will involve receiving the starting location a few weeks before. On the day we need to learn where the checkpoints are and then quickly plot our own route across open hilly terrain to get to the checkpoints and the finish line within the fastest possible time. “There is no time to plan or practice the route beforehand so it requires fast decisions both before and during the race. “The unpredictability of the terrain and the weather is always in your mind and life’s ability to throw you a curve ball really hit home a couple of years ago when I was badly injured racing down Swines Back near Hayfield during the Kinder Downfall race. “I hobbled the last two miles home and then went straight to hospital where they discovered I had badly injured my ankle ligaments. I spent the rest of the year like a frog in a box – itching to get moving again but unable to train let alone compete. “Thankfully I am now back to full fitness and ready for the challenges ahead.”
Sarah Naden, local ambassador for Heart Research UK in the Midlands, added: “As a smaller charity, we are very reliant, and incredibly grateful for people fundraising to support our work in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease and we wish Martin every success in this challenge. “The money raised will go towards ‘Helping Little Hearts’- a Heart Research UK campaign to offer all young heart patients their own personal exercise prescription so that they know how active they can be to help their recovery and development.”
Donations to support Martin’s fundraising challenge can be made at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mttoubkalchallange