An Andover woman has been on an amazing journey to the place furthest away from the centre of the earth.
Thirty-two-year-old Kris Bickerton recently swapped Andover for south America to take on the challenge of a lifetime and scale the ‘triple crown’, three magnificent, snow-capped volcanoes in Ecuador.
In just over two weeks, she climbed almost 18,000 metres, reaching the highest point on the Equator and the point furthest away from the centre of the earth (and still be on land).
The three volcanoes she climbed were the highest peaks in Ecuador. They were: Cayambe, which stands at 5,790 metres, Cotopaxi at 5,895 metres, and Chimborazo, some 6,310 metres high.
The summit of Cayambe is the highest point on the Equator and the top of Chimborazo is, because of the equatorial bulge, the furthest point from the centre of the earth.
Kris, who also overcame a fear of heights through her adventure, had an amazing time and felt a huge amount of pride and relief in her achievement.
“My favourite of the three peaks was Chimborazo,” she said. “Nobody can resist a great fact like standing on the point the furthest away from the centre of the earth!
“It was also the only one with clear weather so I could see the view and surrounding volcanoes. I could actually see Cotopaxi, that I had climbed a few days earlier, in the distance.”
But none of this happened by accident.
Kris worked hard to reach her goal and enjoy her achievement. She trained at Andover Leisure Centre five times a week in preparation for her challenge. She did studio classes, including Body Step and Body Combat, as well as a 10km road run each week, often carrying a weighted backpack to recreate the conditions of the real thing.
“Taking the preparation seriously for a challenge like this means you give yourself the very best chance of achieving your goal,” said Al Darmanin from Valley Leisure, the charitable trust that runs Andover Leisure Centre on behalf of Test Valley Borough Council.
“Kris did all the hard work. But we were delighted to help her,” Al added.
Other people planning adventures and challenges can get free fitness and training advice from the Valley Leisure team by calling 01264 347100.