A Chesterfield cyclist who survived meningitis now has his sites set on getting to the “top of Mount Everest” – on a bike!
Adrian Beckett is taking on a trial known as “Everesting” – which he explained meant cycling the total ascent of the mountain on one hill repeatedly without stopping, until the total distance is completed.
Adrian, who is undertaking the challenge to raise funds for the charity Meningitis Now, calculates this will take 16 to 17 hours and cover around 170 miles on the same 1.75 mile hill. A challenge Adrian himself refers to as “borderline bonkers” – unsurprisingly when he describes his training regime as including starting out at 3.30am to help him get used to riding through the night.
Having previously taken on similar distance challenges, like riding from “John O’Groats to Lands End” and “London to Paris”, Adrian has some idea what he’s in for. But he admitted that none of them came close to this challenge – which he said was highly ambitious, both mentally and physically.
And what makes the challenge all the more remarkable is that Adrian nearly died after contracting meningitis.
“In 2012, aged 27, I had a headache – one I couldn’t shake off,” he said. “After a week the pain in my head was close to unbearable and early one morning other symptoms emerged.
“The whole right side of my body dropped and I was unable to move, I was unable to speak and make any sense and I developed a severe painful sensitivity to light. The pain in my head was debilitating.”
Adrian’s wife Mel called an ambulance which rushed him to hospital – where it was found that his symptoms were being caused by viral meningitis which had led to complications such as encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
“I was very quickly administered an anti-viral drug without which I would have almost certainly died,” he added.
Adrian said there were no guarantees he would be able to regain his full strength in his right side, or his complete speech but that he had been extremely lucky that his wife acted when she did and the hospital administrated the right vaccine in time.
“In the weeks and months following I was able to make an almost full recovery,” he said. “I personally knew someone who had exactly the same illness as me and did not make it.
“I am a very lucky survivor”.
Meningitis Now Chief Executive Dr Tom Nutt praised Adrian’s efforts, saying he was incredibly impressed by his training schedule.
“Recovering from meningitis can be a long and difficult road so it is really inspiring to see Adrian take on such a tough challenge,” he said.
“Hopefully he will successfully reach the peak of “Mount Everest” and get safely down again too.
“Thank-you Adrian for all the amazing hard work you are putting into this challenge – and good luck! All of us at Meningitis Now ill be rooting for you.”
Adrian’s Everest challenge will start at 10pm on Friday 2 August and finish around 4pm on Saturday 4thAugust, on a hill just outside Chesterfield.