Tuesday 24 April 2018

This football freestyler will attempt to juggle a football while climbing up Everest

Because climbing a massive mountain doesn’t quite seem difficult enough…

John Farnworth prepares for his Everest challenge
John Farnworth prepares for his Everest challenge

By Max McLean, Press Association

Climbing up Mount Everest might seem a daunting enough challenge for some, but freestyle footballer John Farnworth is adding his own twist to the feat in an attempt to raise £50,000 for charity.

Th 32-year-old will attempt to climb up to Everest Base Camp while doing constant keepy-uppies – the length of four-and-a-half marathons, reaching an altitude of 17,650 feet – raising money for Alzheimer’s Society as he goes.

ipanews_bdd46084-a473-4b93-93fd-fbe7b569332d_embedded357098
John Farnworth prepares for his Everest challenge

Farnworth, a CBBC Kickabout presenter, is one of the most experienced athletes in the freestyle game, but the inspiration for the challenge came from a different part of his life.

“The person that got me into football was my granddad,” he said. “Unfortunately we lost him last year and he was suffering very badly from vascular dementia and a series of other illnesses. I thought: ‘What can I do to help other families?’

“The challenge came from the idea that everyone’s got their own Everest. I thought: ‘What would be the hardest thing I could think of doing?’ and this is the first thing that came to mind.”

Farnworth has prepared for challenges before, and should he complete this one, which will last the best part of two weeks, it would be his ninth Guinness World Record.

ipanews_bdd46084-a473-4b93-93fd-fbe7b569332d_embedded357122
John Farnworth prepares for his Everest challenge

The preparation for this unique task has been a little different than usual, however.

“I’ve been doing altitude training in a chamber, and I’ve been spending a lot of time in north Wales,” he said.

“We went up Snowdon and a few of the other mountains to get used to the terrain, but also the wind and rain are an issue.

“The wind is an absolute nightmare. I can deal with the snow and rain no problem because I’ve got the right footwear and clothing, but the second it gets really windy…”

In 2011, the freestyler performed keepy-uppies for the length of the London marathon, and while his feet will be the most important tool at his disposal, Farnworth will call on other parts of his body as well.

“We’re hoping to set a new record which would be the furthest ascent with a football while juggling the ball,” said Farnworth.

“It’s definitely daunting. With Guinness World Records the ball can’t hit the ground which is ultimately what you want to aim for anyway, but just knowing that we’re doing it officially makes it more exciting.

“Fortunately I’m able to use different parts of my body, although obviously not my hands. I would imagine 80% of what I’ll be doing trek-wise will be with my feet, but I can use my head and my shoulders.

“It is going to be probably the toughest challenge, not just of my physical strength, but of my technique with the ball too.”

Farnworth sets off on his journey on February 23, and his JustGiving page can be found by clicking here.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News