Martina battles blizzard, slogs up Kilimanjaro for charity
“The going is getting tougher and tougher. It seems to be constantly steep and as we started to approach the highest point yet, 4,500 metres above sea level, sheer exhaustion sets in for much of the group, and with heavy legs and chests pounding due to a lack of oxygen, every step becomes an effort,” Aspen resident and nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova wrote in her blog this morning.
The tennis star is climbing the tallest free-standing mountain in the world along with 27 others to raise money for disadvantaged children around the world. Today the climbers are crossing a barren alpine desert saddled 14,765 feet high between two of Kilimanjaro's three volcanic cones, Kibo and Mawenzi.
When she reaches the 19,341-foot summit, Navratilova, 54, plans to do what else but knock around some tennis balls. She brought her racket to see just how far balls fly off earth's fourth most prominent peak.
But first she and her companions must make it to the top.
Her dispatch yesterday cast some doubt on whether that would actually happen.
They were supposed to embark on an acclimatization walk yesterday on Mawenzi but the snow and poor visibility made it “too dangerous,” Navratilova added.
The arduous climb is bringing the group closer together, she noted, and today the weather improved.
“It has been tougher than I imagined, but that is when everyone has come together to support each other,” wrote Navratilova, diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
Others on the trek for charity — benefiting the London-based Laureus Sport for Good Foundation — include German Paralympic cyclist Michael Teuber and British Olympic badminton star Gail Emms.
“Paralympic cyclist Michael Teuber is amazing, he keeps walking past me at a great pace, and he doesn’t stop smiling,” Navratilova noted in her blog on the second day of their journey.
The group plans to reach the top of Tanzania's Mount Kilamanjaro this weekend.
To donate to the cause, click on this link
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