On 24th March, Lara Kenny and Andy Aston experienced the challenge of a lifetime as they headed to Borneo for the Springboard Charity trek, climbing 4000m Mount Kinabalu, trekking through the rainforest and helping build a school for the community of Kampang Garung.
We caught up with them to find out their three highlights:
Spending time with the people of Kampang Garung. Despite the language barrier, they were so warm and welcoming, and generous too – giving up some of their homes for us to camp in! The children brought so much positive energy, being eager to learn and make friends.
I relished the physical challenges that came with the trek. I struggled with the altitude and it was often hard to keep up with the group, but I felt proud of myself for making it through. Seeing how well all the trekkers did despite the heat and terrain was inspiring – I wish I had the same fortitude as some of my team mates who even had the energy to encourage others through the hard slogs.
The opportunity to disconnect, especially in the village where there’s no signal gave me the chance to be mindful of the experience we were all enjoying together, to reflect on my life at home, and to give my mind a much-needed break.
Reaching the summit of Mount Kinabalu in the dark was incredible and a moment that I will never forget. Already feeling exhausted, there was a moment when I just stood still in the cold, unsure how I was going to take the next step to head back down. As the sun broke revealing the beautiful views, it gave me strength to keep going.
Trekking through the jungle to reach the village was amazing; I loved the simplistic way of life – washing in the local river, spending evenings talking and sharing stories with fellow trekkers and enjoying a simple diet of mainly rice, winter melon and palm hearts.
The vegetarian village feast was so fun! We had only a few ingredients and our kitchen was a tiny, handmade shed with a wok burner. Six of us cooked for the community, creating a feast of winter melon and mung beans stew, black rice with coconut and squash, Chinese cabbage and cucumber and a Chinese leaf, tamarind and teriyaki slaw.
To celebrate their trek, Andy and Lara are hosting Trek 19: Party with a Purpose, raising funds for Springboard charity. If you’d like to purchase tickets, click here.