One world record down, one to go for challenge-mad Gavin

The team who successfully scaled Snowdon including Gavin Levitt, Michael Nolan and Geoff Turkentine.
The team who successfully scaled Snowdon including Gavin Levitt, Michael Nolan and Geoff Turkentine.

Three men took part in a world record attempt at the weekend – as they helped people in wheelchairs to scale Mount Snowdon.

Sudbury-born personal trainer Gavin Levitt was joined by assault-course competitor Michael Nolan, from Sudbury, and Chris Turkentine, from Great Cornard, for the challenge.

Michael Nolan as he nears the summit of Snowdon, pictured with the group helping to get Chris Nic to the top in his wheelchair.

Michael Nolan as he nears the summit of Snowdon, pictured with the group helping to get Chris Nic to the top in his wheelchair.

The trio were part of an 11-man team charged with helping wheelchair user Chris Nic, 23, to the top of the Welsh mountain, which stands 1,085 metres above sea level.

Not only did they manage it, but they did so in record time, shaving 12 minutes off the previous world record – to the delight of sponsors RGK, who set three teams the challenge of scaling Snowdon on Saturday.

“RGK manufacture specialist wheelchairs,” said Gavin, who competes in a disabled and able-bodied obstacle race team.

“They asked us to take up disabled guys in their chairs. Chris broke his back a couple of years ago playing rugby.

Shaun Gash (left) and Gavin Levitt are aiming to break the world record for a man-powered wheelchair journey from Lands End to John O'Groats.

Shaun Gash (left) and Gavin Levitt are aiming to break the world record for a man-powered wheelchair journey from Lands End to John O'Groats.

“RGK wanted us to show these guys that there were still things they could do after their injuries. Chris really wanted to make this, to see how hard he could push.”

All three teams made it to the top and the group is hopeful their triple success will also be recognised as a world record.

For most of the competitors who faced up to the high winds and poor conditions, it was a well earned rest day on Sunday.

For Gavin, however, it was back to work with a 12-hour charity spinning class, a form a high intensity exercise on static bikes.

But it is a different set of muscles the 39-year-old will be using in August when he takes on the main part of his 20Twenty charity challenge with Shaun Gash, one of the three wheelchair users who took on Snowdon.

Having previously scaled Mount Kilimanjaro together, the pair are hoping to beat the world record for a man-powered wheelchair journey from Lands End to John O’Groats.

Training is tough. Having never previously used a wheelchair, he will ride for up to 16 hours-a-day for 19 days.

On Tuesday, he got back from work only to jump in the chair for a 12-hour training push.

Along the way, they will be met by thousands of different runners, cyclists and wheelchair users, with a homecoming course from Clare to Sudbury Town Hall along North Street on August 28.

Gavin hopes to leave Clare at around midday, where a community event will be taking place, and arrive in North Street at around 4pm.

He hopes people will join him on the journey or cheer them along the final stretch where he will be met by the mayor.

The name 20Twenty came from the original idea to help 20 people in 20 days, however, the pair have already surpassed this.

“Now, we are trying to raise £250,000 to support as many people as possible,” said Gavin.

Projects already supported include helping children suffering from cancer, gifts of specialist medical equipment and even support for Cornard Dynamos Youth Football Club.

“We are supporting anyone and everyone that has come to us and asked for help,” added Gavin.

“However big or small, if we can help the right people, that smile gives me a real buzz.”

To find out more about the 20/20 challenge, how you can get involved or to donate visit www.20twentychallenge.org.uk.