Rowena has to peak twice

Rowena Lawrence has an engaging personality and disarming smile. But don’t be fooled, she’s as tough as nails.

She is captain of the women’s rugby side and has just returned from a sevens tournament in Mexico. That, of course, needs a high fitness level, but Lawrence’s physical limits will be tested even more severely next week when she goes on an intrepid hike in terrifyingly cold temperatures.

She will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity from 24 November. Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, is Africa’s highest peak at 5,892 metres (19,331ft). There are arguments as to when the ice peak on the top of the mountain will disappear but it is believed to be some time between 2015 and 2020.

The climb that Lawrence is undertaking will take four days up and one day down with the peak day being a staggering 11-15 hours of hiking.

She said: ‘It is no easy task and all climbers will suffer considerable discomfort, typically shortage of breath, hypothermia and headaches, and though most young, fit people can make the Uhuru summit, a substantial number of trekkers will abandon the attempt at a lower altitude.’

Lawrence has been limited in her training because of her work and rugby commitments but she has been going to Revolutions spinning classes three to five times a week, rugby training three times a week, running when possible and walking her dog on the beach.

‘I am hoping that the fitness that I have built up for the rugby will get me through but the altitude sickness is a concern.’

With Cayman being only a few feet above sea level, altitude sickness is a real concern.

Apparently, the fitter people are, the more likely they are to suffer from the sickness as they tend to walk faster and do not give themselves time to acclimatise. The guides that go up the mountain should regulate the pace but there are always concerns.

Lawrence has asked anyone who wishes to sponsor her in Cayman to donate to the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation.

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