A Dozen Everests

Published on 29.03.24

Here at Tiny Changes, we’re always blown away by the lengths our fundraisers go to help young minds feel better. A Dozen Everests is an epic fundraising challenge by Mark Bruce. It involves cycling uphill for the ‘height’ of Everest – which is an eye-watering 8864 metres!

Everesting, as it’s known, is an official challenge that people take on each year across the world, with the results logged on an official website. Not content with completing this challenge just once, Mark has decided to complete 12 ‘Everests’ over the next year.

He was the very first person to complete an Everest in the new year (yes!) – and he’s still going. We caught up with Mark to hear about the challenge that lies ahead, why he chose it, and what it all means to him.

To sponsor Mark in his challenge, head to his JustGiving page here.

Read on to find out more…

Q&A with Mark...

Can you explain a little about your challenge and what it all means, for those of us hearing about it for the first time?

An Everest is really simple in theory – you climb one hill, in one ride, without sleep until you reach the vertical height of Mount Everest (8864 metres.) That’s 6.6 ascents of Ben Nevis for anyone that’s given that a go. In 2024, I am going to attempt 12 of them. That’s a lot of climbing. I finished Everest 1 on January 1st – it took 13 hours and required 9000 calories to complete, it sounds quite silly but the eating is one of the most difficult things for me. If anyone has any good carb heavy snacks they are a fan of then please send recommendations my way!

What made you choose this particular challenge and when did it change to becoming A Dozen Everests?

Cycling saved my life, there are no two ways about it. My own mental health has been very poor in years past and cycling has been my way of escaping it. Everesting is one of the hardest things you can do on a bike, it has been compared to running two marathons back to back stress wise on your body and the mental challenge is perhaps the hardest bit. I thought around mid 2023 I wanted to try and accomplish one of them in 2024. I then decided I really wanted to push my mind and body to their limits and try and raise as much awareness as we can of Tiny Changes and the incredible work that they do. So I went for 12, go hard or go home, right?! If we can help one person going through a tough time with their mental health then it is all worth it.

Where will the events be taking place?

So as the weather improves (as much as we can hope in Scotland) I want to start Everesting climbs that mean a lot to my journey with cycling. The Crow Road in the Campsies was a hill I literally could not cycle up a few years ago whilst in the depths of my difficulties. So, to Everest it by climbing it 49 times would be a really cool way to put it to bed and hopefully something that can show people that persistence and the willingness to push through adversity can lead to better days and changed outlooks. You are not alone in your struggles and people are there for you, I am hoping that sharing my story can encourage others to be open too.

You are not alone in your struggles and people are there for you, I am hoping that sharing my story can encourage others to be open too.

You were previously in a touring band for a long time, how do you look back on that time of your life now?

If I could sum it up I would use the term ‘beautiful chaos’. I toured the world for ten years and whilst they were some of my best times, they also played part in some of my worst mental and physical health. 15 months ago I was very close to this being a very different story and I think about how low and unwell I was at that point very often and it has become a fuel for me to keep evolving and pushing myself forward. I think reflection is really important and I wouldn’t change much about my career in live performance however I feel much more balanced and fulfilled now so I guess it all worked out. The touring life would never have enabled me to do something like this so I am very happy to be on two wheels every day!

What led you to Tiny Changes and why did you choose to fundraise for us?

Scott and Frightened Rabbit made a massive impact on my life and like many, Scott’s passing hit me very hard. I remember exactly where I was when I first heard ‘Head Rolls Off’ – on dial up internet in my parents old house in the Highlands of Scotland way past my bedtime. I knew from the moment I heard that first line that this band was going to be a massive part of my life. I was lucky enough to see FR many times live and a very special one was the weekend we played our first Glastonbury Festival and they played too. Childhood dreams coming true!

What kind of preparation/training have you had to do for this? And have you always cycled?

Training has been intense but I have really enjoyed it. I ride my bike every day whether it’s rolling to a coffee shop or doing something like an Everest. To Everest even once you gave to get very comfortable being uncomfortable so pushing myself to that place has been hard at points but the feeling right after it is amazing. The cycling community has been so supportive and I have had some amazing messages of support from all over the globe including some coaching help from Ed Laverack (2019 British Hill Climb Champion and all round extremely nice person). I first got back into cycling in lockdown (a classic tale) but only really spinning around and empty city and I always tried to avoid the hills. A few years and a lot of miles later here we are!

Do you have doubts about whether you’ll be able to complete the challenge?

I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had worries about parts of it but getting number one in the books was a massive win for my own head and when the challenge really began to take off. I said to someone the other day: I am just keeping it simple, one Everest at a time! I think we all suffer from self doubt but I have shown myself if you can start small and aim big you can do some amazing things!

What will help you to get over the finish line?

The idea that we can help people and hopefully try to break the stigma around being open about your mental health. Since retraining as a classroom teacher I see daily the massive needs for more mental health support in our young people, they are our future, and they are being let down. Scott wrote that ’something carries on’ and I think if we all take the Make Tiny Changes mentality with us whenever we can then together we can make massive change.

If we all take the ‘Make Tiny Changes’ mentality with us whenever we can then together we can make massive change.

You recently completed the first of your 12 Everests. How can people follow the rest of your journey?

I am on Instagram where you can find all the links to various pages: A Dozen Everests.


To sponsor Mark in his challenge, head to his JustGiving page here.

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