Sean Burch on Everest in 2003
A new world record for the
fastest ascent of one of the world’s most recognized mountains, Mt.
Kilimanjaro, in Africa, has been made by fitness expert Sean Burch (Virginia,
USA). Burch ran the 34 kilometer route in 5 hours, 28 minutes, and 48
seconds, endured a vertical gain of almost 15,000ft, faced hypothermia,
pulmonary edema, a blinding wind storm, pouring rain, sleet, and snow as he
ran through 5 different ecosystems to reach the 19,340ft summit.
Burch trained for more than a
year for this extreme challenge, and before setting the world record, he
acclimatized on the mountain for 8 days by running laps around the crater rim
at 18,500ft and jumping rope for extended periods of time on the summit. He
then rested for several days and spent up to 5 hours daily meditating. Burch
carried all his own gear, and used guides and Tanzanian Park Rangers for time
verification issues only. “We congratulate Sean on running the fastest up the
mountain,” stated the Chief Park Warden, who greeted Burch upon his descent to
the National Park headquarters gate.
More than 22,000 people a
year attempt to reach the highest peak in Africa, taking 5 to 10 days, with
nearly half of those failing to reach the summit. Kilimanjaro is the highest
freestanding mountain in the world and the only mountain where one treks
through 5 ecosystems to reach the summit, beginning in a rainforest and ending
in an alpine environment.
When asked how it felt to
climb one of the world’s most famous mountains faster than anyone ever has,
Burch commented, “When I got to the summit ridge I started sprinting to the
sign as fast as I could, and by the time I reached the top, I immediately
puked. So the feeling wasn't celebratory. It’s now just starting to sink in
on the accomplishment.”
In one front-page feature,
USA Today described Burch, “Next to Lance Armstrong, the undisputed poster
boy of ultimate fitness, it would be hard to find anyone as fit as (Sean)
Burch.” As well as being the founder of HyperfitnessÔ programs Burch won the
North Pole marathon last year in world record time, reached the summit of Mt.
Everest in a solo effort where he used minimal supplementary oxygen, holds the
world record for jumping rope at altitude (26,181ft), and has climbed first
ascents and high-altitude peaks on six continents.
While in Tanzania, Burch worked
in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF)– Tanzania, to help promote their
environmental education program and current cultural tourism project, which
showcases the tradition and lifestyle of the Chagga tribe in the Nshara
village on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. “The environment, global warming,
and other conservation issues are of huge importance to me, and by working
with the WWF we are taking action in our goal of ensuring that people can live
in harmony with nature,” Burch said.
Burch is drawn to extreme
endurance competitions to validate his HyperfitnessÔ training techniques as a
new and effective means for goal-oriented physical conditioning. He is
currently writing a book, Hyperfitness Living, which contains his highly
publicized training protocol. The book is set for publication next year.
Hyperfitness Living is the complete physical, mental, and nutritional training
guide for life.
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