Parnell continues climb towards goal of 10 fundraising quests

By: Kathryn McMackin

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 10:48 am

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Since initiating Quest for Kids, Martin Parnell has accomplished a lot.

He’s completed six of the 10 quests for the fundraising project, ran 250 marathons in a year, officially set three Guinness World Records and raised $525,000 for Right To Play, a not-for-profit global organization that brings sport and play to children facing adversity.

But his next quest, Kilimanjaro Quest 95.2, has the marathon man a little uneasy.

“With the quests, the outcome isn’t always a given,” said Parnell. “There’s a lot of planning that goes into the quests, but I can’t plan for this one. I’m a bit nervous, I can feel the butterflies in my stomach.”

The latest quest will see Parnell run the March 3 Kilimanjaro Marathon and then, three days later, attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Between the two challenges, he’ll be covering 95.2 kilometres.

The catch is, he’ll be completing the mountain climb, with the help of his friend and guide, Lau Mafuru of trekking company Bomo Africa, in 24 hours. Normally, the ascent takes five days.

His goal is to raise $25,000 with this quest. Matched three-times over by his Right To Play partners, the quest aims to reach the ultimate goal of $100,000.

“This is the biggest physical challenge since Marathon Quest 250 (in 2010),” said Parnell. “It’s not about how fit you are, it’s about how you’re body physiologically responds to the change in altitude.”

In preparation of the Kilimanjaro undertaking, the local marathon runner and philanthropist recently climbed Kananaskis Country’s Moose Mountain. Parnell said the local trek, which took he and his friends about seven and a half hours to complete, was more about testing the gear than training for the big climb.

“Moose Mountain is about 8,000 feet in elevation and I have to go up to 19,314 feet with Mount Kilimanjaro. The altitude is going to be a huge challenge,” said Parnell. “But the (Moose Mountain) climb was a good test of my gear and footwear.”

Climbing aside, he said he’s been putting in a lot of training time on the treadmill with the inclination cranked up to get his muscles in shape for the trek.

Parnell will be taking off for Tanzania, Africa, Feb. 23, giving him a significant amount of time to acclimatize and train before the March 3 Kilimanjaro Marathon and the March 6 climb.

By arriving a few days ahead of time, Parnell and Mafuru will be putting in a few smaller ascents in an attempt to get Parnell used to the change in elevation and altitude.

To donate to Parnell’s initiative, visit


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