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Everest in the Alps presents a mountainous training challenge for Phil Spencer

TV presenter Phil Spencer prepares to take on the Everest in the Alps expedition to raise funds for life-saving research into childhood brain tumours

TV presenter Phil Spencer prepares to take on the Everest in the Alps expedition to raise funds for life-saving research into childhood brain tumours

Coined the ‘second ascent’, the four-day challenge starts on 26 February and will see 38 fundraisers venture to the Swiss Alps to scale the equivalent height of the tallest mountain in the world on skis.

Host of Location, Location, Location, Hampshire-based Phil is teaming up with accountancy firm, Smith and Williamson to take on the 8,848 metre challenge and will be using a Versaclimber machine to aid his training (pictured).

The Versaclimber machine is able engage all major muscle groups, including arms, chest and shoulders, back, glutes, hips and legs.

Phil said: “I’ve always been passionate about ‘doing what you can’ for charitable causes that need urgent help, and though I’ve taken part in various fitness-related challenges before, it has never been on this scale.

Brain cancer in children is an area that needs crucial funding towards research and care, and with 30 eager people taking part, we are determined to succeed for the cause – it’ll be the toughest challenge of our lives, but we’re ready!”

Training is key

In order to prepare for the steep climbs, aching limbs and high altitude, housing-expert Spencer embarked on a strict regime in September 2017 after a long period out of regular training after moving from London to the countryside.

Partnering up with Versaclimber, Phil is using the machine once a day, benefitting from the machine’s unique ability to provide a full-body, low impact workout.

To increase his cardiovascular endurance and prepare for the Alps, Phil’s training involves climbing intervals with strict timed deadlines to reach certain heights – starting from 1,000 metres in one hour, with the hope of climbing the height of Everest on the machine within two days.

“Training is really intense. I’ve used rowing machines and treadmills to train for previous events, but using the Versaclimber has been ideal preparation ahead of my trip to Switzerland.

“The challenge will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the VC is about getting me as physically prepared as I can be. This will also be a test of mental strength, so having a strong and determined team alongside you will be crucial – particularly when you need that big push.”

The impact of the second ascent

Funds raised by Phil, Rob and all the teams will go to The Everest Centre, financed by The Brain Tumour Charity with a global remit to research new treatments.

The centre will fund several, vital research projects that will help us understand more about low-grade paediatric brain tumours and trial new treatments.

Globally over 26,000 children have a paediatric brain tumour and every year in the UK another 300 children are diagnosed. The location of low-grade tumours in the brain often makes them only partially operable.

Consequently children have to go through multiple rounds of invasive treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and relapse is a constant fear.

Phil adds: Everest in the Alps will make a difference for The Everest Centre and for vital research that just wasn’t around before.”

Watch Phil and Rob’s Everest in the Alps video here.