Winter Olympic gold medalist Amy Williams took part in the London Twin Peak Challenge last year and will be this year's "Team Captain" on Saturday June 18 in order to raise money for charity Action Against Hunger.
Ahead of the event, which is a month away, Amy spoke with WSR's David Brenchley and gave us the lowdown on the event.
Women Sport Report: Could you tell us what the London Twin Peak Challenge is and give us a bit of background?
Amy Williams: Last year was the first one they have done and we had about 80 people take part basically trying to raise a lot of money for Action Against Hunger. You starting at CityPoint and finish at the Broadgate Tower, climbing around 935 feet. You can take part as individuals or as a team, raced each other up and down and hopefully raise a lot of money. They put on massages for everyone afterwards and there are refreshments as well. I think the best bit is how amazing it looks when you are at the top. You are out of breath, though - it was harder than I thought!
WSR: How did you get involved in the first place?
Amy: They asked me if I would like to help out with their charity, be an ambassador for them and take part in the event. You get asked by so many people to be involved in things but I think it is a great charity because they get money to lots of different countries all over the world, helping young and old with food, etc. People take for granted how much food we have here and it is all about encouraging and helping those less fortunate than us. I thought it would be a good charity to help out and was quite keen because I thought it could be part of my training!
WSR: And, of course, it helps with keeping fit. Would it help with your training?
Amy: I did warn my coach last year: ‘I might be tired the next day, I am walking up, like, nearly 1000 steps' but it was good fun and I chatted to people on the way up so I didn't take it too seriously. Some people trained and really went for it because you do get timed. For others it was just a big achievement for them because they weren't the fittest people.
WSR: How demanding is the Twin Peak Challenge?
Amy: I'm not used to so much cardio work out and your heart is pumping and racing and you feel a lot of burn in your muscles as you are walking up. I started going up two [steps] at a time and you quickly get tired and go back to walking one at a time. It was just good fun more than anything and it is something different - you don't usually walk up so many steps. When you get to the top you can see over the whole of London, which was an extra bonus.
WSR: Do you enjoy that part of it - speaking to the competitors and meeting different people?
Amy: We were all there for the same reason, which was to raise money, and last year it was quite soon after the Olympics so it was nice to speak to people and they were chuffed that I had turned up. It is nice to know why people are doing it - are they doing it to keep fit? How else have they raised money? There were people of all different ages, people who lived round the corner, people who had travelled to take part. There were a few people dressed up if I can remember correctly! It was pretty early on a Sunday morning last year, which was a bit strange for a gathering of people in the middle of London to climb some stairs.
WSR: Any last words on this year's event?
Amy: It will be good to go back and see how many more people we have got. We did warm ups before we went so we had a bit of aerobic warm up; getting everyone stretched and ready to go. I really hope it is a good success and people from all over London, and the country, take part. I think they raised over £24,000 so it is a lot of money considering only 80 people took part. I think everybody could help charities and give a bit more in their lives. We take so much for granted and, once you are climbing, a bit of pain in your legs is nothing compared to the people who are really suffering and not getting food and water every day.
photos Janos Schmidt