A team of 38 climbers have not only climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in 6 days instead of the more usual 9 days but have also played the World’s Highest game of rugby to raise funds for and awareness of the Steve Prescott Foundation (SPF). The climbing party included rugby league legend Adrian Morley, Lee Briers, Barrie McDermott, Chico Jackson, Neil Harmon, Mike Wainwright and Alan Hunte. BBC North West journalist Beccy Meehan and Angela Powers from Sky Sports also took part and have filmed the whole challenge which will be broadcast across their respective TV networks.
After an anxious wait it was finally confirmed today that the party had reached Uhuru Peak the summit of the 5895m (19341ft) mountain.
SPF Trustee and Event Leader Ade Cunliffe said on social media. ‘Made it to the summit. 35 out the 38 made it. Played full 80 mins rugby. In so much pain it's untrue . Cannot wait to get home. I'm in bits. Never ever again. So proud of all the teams achievements! The 3 who did not make it are heroes who gave it their all, most importantly they are safe and well! They have been thru hell and back!’
It is reported that altitude sickness was a major problem for all the climbers in a challenge that pushed their bodies to the limit as their individual fitness and mental stamina at high altitude were tested.
The climbers also achieved their goal and will make their way into the Guinness Book of Records World Record for the World’s Highest Altitude Rugby League match by playing at Crater Camp at 5760 metres. The climbers divided into two teams sponsored by Warrington Wolves and Multiwork and played a full 80 minute game under Rugby Football League International Federation rules refereed by RFL referee Robert Hicks. For the record the score was 10 all.
Lee Briers SPF ambassador and U19’s coach at Warrington Wolves messaged on Twitter ‘That was the hardest thing I've ever done and quite possibly the hardest thing I'll ever do.’
Linzi Prescott says. ‘I am incredibly proud of each and every one that took on this challenge. I think it is amazing what they have achieved. They are a fantastic team, who I'm sure have experienced some special, once in a lifetime memories. I cannot thank them enough for continuing Stephen's legacy. He would be so proud! Special thanks must also go to their partners/families for their support. It's been a sleepless week for me so I don't know how they have coped. Hope they enjoy the well deserved celebrations now it's over. Stay safe!!’
Mike Denning Chairman of the SPF says. ‘ In true SPF Spirit, people from all walks of life have stepped up to complete this amazing challenge and in doing so set our very own World Record for the highest game of Rugby League ever played. We are all extremely proud of their endeavours and truly grateful for the time and energy they have all put in training and completing this challenge. Massive thanks to all of our Sponsors and once again the SPF family are pushing new boundaries. Thanks to everybody for your continued support.’
Each climber has raised at least £4000 for the charities of the SPF, the Christie Hospital in Manchester and Try Assist (formerly the Rugby League Benevolent Fund) and for research into multi visceral transplants in Oxford.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/teams/kili2015