Everest challenge for former world champ

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Former world champion Thai boxer, Rachael Mackenzie is preparing to take on Everest as part of a scheme that will appear on two TV shows.

Mrs Mackenzie is an athlete mentor for the Extreme Classroom Project which takes troubled youths on challenging journeys.

She said: “The aim of the Extreme Classroom Project is to show that there are different ways to educate people than just in a classroom.”

TV crews from Sky TV and BBC1 documentary series Extreme Classrooms series, set to be aired over Christmas, will follow the athlete’s journey to base camp with 11 selected teenagers and their teachers.

She has already ventured to the Arctic and hiked through the African Rift Valley in Tanzania for previous series of extreme classrooms, The World’s Coldest Classroom and The World’s Hottest Classroom.

“Physically Everest will be my biggest challenge,” she said.

“We have done some altitude training at a centre in London, and I struggled with it a bit, it’s hard because you can’t train for altitude, it affects everyone differently.”

The mum of twins says that missing her four-year-olds, who recently started Oatlands Infant School, will be her biggest challenge during the three week trip.

“They understand what I am doing and what the programme is doing to help under privileged children.

“The twins have actually met some of the kids involved when we have been training.”

Mrs Mackenzie has had to step up her training and gain weight ahead of her adventure, in order to be fit to compete at the Kwon British Open Championships in Barnsley just weeks after she returns.

Extreme Classrooms

The Extreme Classrooms project is led by Trystan Williams, principal at The Springfields Academy in Wiltshire.

11 children with special educational needs from across the UK were chosen to take part in the Everest base camp challenge after undergoing a rigorous selection process.

Rachael Mackenzie is one of three Athlete mentors involved in the trip.

From 2006 to 2009 Rachael topped the women’s Thai boxing world rankings.