What heights will our supporters go to for our cause? We’re about to find out! George Clardy will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to fundraise for Real Medicine in the inaugural event for Climb for Real™.

We are proud to join him in announcing that the official dates for Climb for Real™ will be November 11-20 2013. Inspired to support or join in? We hope you will! You can find the full information here.

We asked George about how he was getting ready for the biggest climb of his life.

RMF: How are preparations coming for Climb for Real, Kilimanjaro 2013, George?

photo: George Clardy and Christine. George will be spearheading Climb for Real 2013

GC: Surprisingly well, both in the planning and in the physical training.  We now have an itinerary for the trip from 11-20 November with the summit of Kilimanjaro under a full moon.  That means that the team will start the final push to the top of Africa around midnight on the night of 17 November and hope to reach the summit early morning of the 18th.  Overall we will spend seven nights camped on the mountain.  As for the training, I have been climbing a lot of stairs and steep trails in the area.  I can now do six times what I could just three months ago.  An easy climb for me now is to 1250′ which is the height of the Empire State Building. 

RMF: What has been the most challenging part of preparing for the Climb?

GC: As with most challenges involving exercise, the hardest part is starting.  I have learned some tricks over the years in the area of motivation which have helped.  Like rolling a ball down a hill.  Once it is starts, the rest is easy.  As for the preparations of the trek, there is an enormous amount of information available.  It is a matter of understanding your goal(s), researching the subject (including getting inputs from those who have gone through the experience), and then setting up the timeline for the plan.

RMF: What has been the most fun part of your Climb preparation at this stage?

GC: Dreaming of doing the climb of Mt Kilimanjaro!  It is all a learning experience.  What are the physical challenges and how can they be overcome?  What gear do I need?  When is the best time of the year to do the climb?  What size support team do we need?  How long does it take?  Can I go First Class?

RMF: Has anything surprised you about preparing and planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro?

GC: Nothing so far as for the preparation and planning.  As I said, there is a lot of information available: online, in books, on YouTube, at sports/hiking stores and clubs, and talking with those who have attempted the climb of Kilimanjaro and other major mountains.  One thing that has surprised me are the numbers of hiking trails everywhere.  Live in Los Angeles?  Try hiking Runyon Canyon in Hollywood: steep, fun, dog friendly, several trails and a great view from the top of the hill.

photo: Chumash Trail (photo by George Clardy)

RMF: How do you prepare yourself physically to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

GC: Literally one step at a time.  It can be climbing the stairs at the local high school or putting one foot ahead of the other climbing the numerous hiking trails in your area.  I have always said that anyone can train to run the first 20 miles of a marathon (26.2 miles), but you have to be mentally prepared to finish the last 6.2 miles.  I will say the same for climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.  Anyone can train to reach 15,000 ft., but if you don’t think you can make it to the top at 19,341′, you never will, no matter how physically prepared you are.  And in this case, you need to also understand altitude sickness and how best to combat it.  Everyone will suffer some degree of sickness near the top and no one will know how they will do until they get there.  Oh, and did I mention it’s cold at the top?

RMF: Have you ever done anything like this before?

GC: Yes, in 1995 I ran in the first marathon in Antarctica.  Did I mention cold?  It was a wonderful adventure with some of the most interesting people I have ever met.  We started with 133 runners/adventures from around the world.  At the start line only 105 decided to take that first step.  Among those about 80 finished.  Yes, I finished in 7 hours and 17 minutes, which was nearly double my normal marathon time.  Again, it was the dreaming, researching, planning, training, the trip and crossing the finish line.  Every stage was fun and exciting.


RMF:  It’s about to get even more exciting-with this interview, fundraising for Climb for Real™ has officially begun!

Please contact us about corporate sponsorships and personal donations, knowing that 100% of your donations to Climb for Real will go to Real Medicine Foundation.

To show your support now, you can donate to George Clardy’s climb here.


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