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Abu Dhabi to Everest

Daniel Hughes races Abu Dhabi as part of his Everest Comic Relief prep

Daniel Hughes, an inspirational fundraiser from London, swapped frozen cliffs for Arabian sun in preparation for his assault on Everest later this month, using the US$230,000 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on 2nd March as his last big training push.

Daniel’s Everest Million campaign will see him attempt to be the first person to top the summit of the world’s tallest peak with a Comic Relief Red Nose to raise £1 million for the cause. In preparation for the climb, Daniel took an unorthodox approach to training including his first ever triathlon in the UAE capital.

“To tackle Everest you need to be in the best shape possible. I’ve done 10ks in my Everest kit and the UK’s toughest duathlons but until the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon I’d never taken on a full triathlon – well there’s not much call for swimming on the summit of Everest and swimming has never been a forte of mine,” said the 31-year-old commercial airline pilot.

“However, the challenge really appealed to me and after a friend sent me the link to the Abu Dhabi Inspire Competition in January for the chance to win an entry place to the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon – I really wanted to take on the challenge.”

As one of the 10 Abu Dhabi Inspire competition winners, Daniel had only a few weeks of focussed training before he was on a plane out to the UAE capital and his first international triathlon experience.

Race day arrived and complete with his Comic Relief Red Nose, Daniel joined his fellow competitors on the beach in 30°c heat, a million miles away from the harsh frozen slopes of Everest, ready to enter the open-water swim.

“Training done, it was now or never. As I’m sure many of first-timers will testify the swim was more of a battle than being technically perfect. Focussing on small goals I made it back to the safety of dry land in a respectable position mid pack.”

“I’ve always enjoyed my cycling and before I knew it I was clawing in the miles at almost 29mph even with my Red Nose on! I knew I wasn’t doing too badly, when I got to the transition area, and there were hardly any bikes there. Just five agonising kilometres of running down the stunning beach front, before collapsing over the line in 10th place. Really chuffed, as over 500 entered the sprint race! What a day.”

With the Triathlon now behind him, Daniel is now continuing his preparations for the Everest Million ascent at the end of the month. “Ever since the campaign started, it has always aimed to encourage 1 million people to donate just £1 for Comic Relief and through the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon we are making a great start on that target.”

To find out more about Daniels Everest Million campaign and to donate £1 for Comic Relief visit www.everestmillion.com.

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.