Rebels aren't shy of a challenge and Simon McGuigan is taking on his greatest challenge this October - the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilamanjaro. Also known as the highest freestanding mountain in the world with three volcanic cones, Kilamanjaro is an advanced climb that takes serious training and preparation. Simon tells us about the challenge ahead...​   





Tell us more about the challenge that you’re taking on this October.

It’s a Help For Heroes organised trek, climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It’s known as the ‘Roof of Africa’, and is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. The summit is 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet. It should take 6 days to climb, making camp and sleeping in tents every night. In order to acclimatise better, we climb higher than we need every day, and then descend to sleep at a lower altitude.

Have you attempted anything like this before?

No…! I have taken on various smaller challenges in the past, such as the Tough Mudder, and rowing the length of the Thames, but never anything like this. The charity is the thing that really attracted me to the challenge – Help For Heroes do so much good work, that it is nice to be able to help in a small way.

When did your training regime begin/ what does it consist of?

I have always tried to maintain a reasonable level of fitness. I teach and train in a martial art, Choi Kwang Do 2-3 times per week. I found 1Rebel Broadgate at the start of 2016, and haven’t looked back since! 1R has been great for the cardio exercising that you may normally get bored of, and has a great mixture of different types of classes. With the Rumble and Reshape classes, you just don’t get the chance to get bored. The instructors always mix things up, so you never know what is coming next. It really helps to keep you focused.

How has 1Rebel helped with preparing you for the big ascent?

The instructors are awesome! There are times when you feel too tired to take a class, or can’t push any more during a class – but the instructors all create such a great vibe that you do keep pushing. The Rumble and Reshape classes have really got me addicted. In July the ‘Passport’ motivation saw me at 1R every single week day. Massive thanks particularly to Lisa, Robyn, Ami and Sammy for the motivation! 


The biggest obstacle with the climb, is the potential of altitude sickness. I have been doing my best to train for that, wearing a training mask in the 1R classes. The mask reduces the amount of oxygen that you can breathe in, and certainly makes the classes even more punishing… It’s not a great look though – so it’s just as well the lighting is dark in there!  I have also taken to doing the Reshape classes wearing my climbing boots, although whilst wearing those I am unable to keep up with everyone else (at least that’s my excuse!).

What advice would you give to your fellow Rebels who are considering taking on an amazing challenge like this? 

Go for it!!!  With just 2 weeks to go, although I am a little nervous, I am also very excited. Hopefully I will get to meet other like-minded people on the trek, and of course we get to raise a lot of money for a great charity. Anything is possible with the correct training, and if 1Rebel can get me prepared, they can get anyone ready!

We heard that in one session you knocked down a Rumble punchbag, that requires some serious strength?! Seems like the sessions are working…?

Haha yes, that’s true. We did have a slight malfunction one day! It must have been down to the person that used the bag in the class before me...!   

What’s next on your list of challenges for the future?

I have absolutely no idea…. I need to complete Kili first! I will definitely get involved with things like any 1Rebel team challenges such as the Rat Race, and I am in continuous training towards my third-degree black belt. I will wait to get back from Kili before deciding on the next major challenge!

Support Simon via his fundraising page here.