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Bishop's Stortford Handball Club member Natalia Kasiarz prepares for Three Peaks Challenge by 'climbing Mount Everest' in lockdown

A key member of Bishop's Stortford Handball Club has not let lockdown get in the way of her preparations for the Three Peaks Challenge – in fact, she's 'scaled Mount Everest'.

Natalia Kasiarz, 25, has been spending one-and-a-half hours a day going up and down the stairs on a footbridge near Cheshunt railway station.

She went up the 36 steps 100 times each day – not counting going down each time – and her efforts equate in distance to climbing Everest one-and-a-half times.

Back pain has stopped her in her tracks for now, but she has raised funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and is thinking of more ways she can get ready for her attempt to climb Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ben Nevis in just over 24 hours later in the year.

"It was 3,600 steps [per day], not counting going down, and it was very hard as it was taking me one-and-a-half hours every day of non-stop going up and down," said Kasiarz, who has been a member of BSHC and its predecessor, Stansted Supers, since 2017. She not only plays but is also a coach, referee and on the committee.

"It came up to the equivalent of one-and-a-half times up Everest. Sadly I couldn't complete the two full climbs.

Natalia Kasiarz taking on her steps challenge (35026121)
Natalia Kasiarz taking on her steps challenge (35026121)

"I was absolutely gutted but I had to stop because the back pain was debilitating. I suspect it was a mixture of the climbs and anxiety that I have been fighting since the beginning of this [coronavirus] outbreak."

Kasiarz moved to the UK on her own from Poland when she was 19 and lives in Cheshunt. She used to run two of the Shell petrol stations in Stortford before becoming a Unilever sales representative for field sales agency McCurrach.

She still works in Stortford some times in her new role covering Hertfordshire, and at the beginning of her steps challenge she was still working and facing the general public in supermarkets.

She was inspired to fundraise for the BHF as deep vein thrombosis stopped her father and grandfather from doing things they loved like gardening and mountain walking.

"I was hoping to be able to go and walk all of the Tatra Mountains chain in Poland, but I'm not sure I'll be able to travel without any major disruptions," said Kasiarz, who hopes to take on the Three Peaks Challenge in October.

"I also wanted to walk all of the Hertfordshire Way – that's about 166 miles of footpath – but because hotels and hostels are closed I would have to be doing it in stages, with my friends dropping me off and picking me up. I'm waiting for the distancing rules to be relaxed a bit more to be able to do that."

Go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/natalia-kasiarz to support her and make a donation.

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