Neil to tackle mammoth challenge for charity

A SUPER-FIT Kilburn dad is planning to take on the Himalayas in gruelling back-to-back endurance events.

Neil Cottam, a 41-year-old father-of-one, from Windmill Avenue, will jet out to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu in February next year.

There he and work friends David Slater, Robert Butt and Wilco Voulon will begin a three-week trek to the base of mount Everest, scaling some of the most challenging peaks in the Himalayas on the way to raise money for Rainbows Hospice in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

But the Kilburn action man will not stop there – when his trekking partners fly home, he plans to stay in the country and compete in the highest altitude mountain bike race in the world, the Yak Attack.

Neil, a maintenance engineer at the Coors brewery in Burton upon Trent will have only a few days rest before he competes with 29 other riders in the daunting 400-kilometre cycle race across the Nepalese mountain range, while his friends return home.

He is also hoping to complete it ‘unaided’, which means he will be one of the first non-Nepalese competitors to do the challenge without the need for a support vehicle or medical attention if he is successful.

Neil is not daunted by the task and said: “I’m an outdoors sort of guy really, I fish and climb and mountain board. I go kayaking sometimes too.

“I wanted to do these events anyway. I was looking into doing it last year with a friend. I thought it would be great to do it for charity, and my mum has done a lot of work over the last seven or eight years for Rainbows so I wanted to do it for her really.”

Neil, who has travelled to 11 different countries in the past year for different events said his son, Daniel, 19, from Swanwick, was not too worried about his dad’s toughest challenge yet. He said the main danger facing the trekkers will be altitude sickness and the wintery conditions. Snow drifts may block pathways and descending mountains too fast can cause nausea, headaches and possibly water on the brain.

For the Yak Attack race, an annual endurance event, Neil will scale a total of 11,000 metres in altitude over its course.

Amber Valley fitness expert Karen Laird who has helped several people prepare for endurance events since forming her personal training business seven years ago, said his challenge was “no mean feat”. She said: “The more training you can do for something like this the better off you are. Your legs are going to be tired, everything’s going to be tired and you must make sure you keep your calory levels up.”