WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6
ELIZABETH BALLANTYNE GRAD WHO CLIMBED EVEREST TO BE HONOURARY CHAIR OF INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY
MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 13, 2010— When Ted Fairhurst attended Elizabeth Ballantyne Elementary School in Montreal West 56 years ago, he walked to school several times a day. Many years later he has taken physical fitness to a new level, having recently climbed Mount Everest and celebrating his 63rd birthday there, he describes this as one of the most memorable experiences of his life.
Mr. Fairhurst is indeed seen as a role model to youngsters and wishes to encourage them to pursue healthy and physically active lifestyles. With this in mind he has accepted the honourary chairmanship of the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) participation in Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October, 6, 2010. It will begin at 7:30 a.m., with one walk starting from N.D.G. Park, at the corner of Marcil and Cote St. Antoine, and another beginning at 8:30 a.m. from Confederation Park at the corner of Kensington and Fielding. “We can accomplish extraordinary things if we have a passion for life. There is no limit to what we are able to achieve” Mr. Fairhurst stated, when asked what message he would like to give to our students about staying motivated and pursuing their dreams.
“Just go for it!” he adds.
Participants in the International Walk to School Day are the students and parents from the EMSB’s Elizabeth Ballantyne, Royal Vale, St. Monica, Willingdon and a private school, Lower Canada College. Students who participate will walk to school with their parents or be dropped off at one of the designated starting points.
Both the N.D.G YMCA and Montreal Police Station 11 have joined the event as community partners. The police are especially important as they plan and supervise the walking routes by car..They plan the walking route prior to the event and supervise by car on the day of the event. The walking routes planned by the Police Department are both safe and direct, and create more public awareness of the walking corridors. The principals, physical education teachers, and parent volunteers are on hand to supervise both in the parks and throughout the walk.
Mr. Fairhurst is an artist by profession. From drawing on toilet paper at four years old, to getting up at 4 am to go duck hunting when he was 12, Mr. Fairhurst had to squeeze in every moment he could to pursue his passions. At 20, after getting a taste of the world working at Expo ‘67 in Montreal, he was ready to get out there and go explore the globe himself.
Hitchhiking all the way from Scotland to Afghanistan in 1969, he then travelled by bus to India and Nepal. In Kathmandu he met a New Zealand climber who had just returned from trekking about 300 miles to Everest Base Camp and back. His story, within seconds, shot so much adrenaline into Mr. Fairhurst’s bloodstream, he knew he had to go and try to do it too.
Within days he was crossing over high mountain passes and finding his way up and over the Khumbu Range. With no mountaineering experience, alone and only a summer sleeping bag, he somehow managed to climb up the Khumbu Glacier to approximately 19,000 feet to Everest Base Camp.“I spent 32 days alone in the greatest mountain range on earth surviving only on my energy and wits,” he says.
In the 80’s, Mr. Fairhurst plunged into creating his own business of real estate. With not much money, but plenty of will power, he built a company mostly on faith and determination alone. He learned the values of self-motivation and creative thinking.
In November 2002, he ventured to Bolivia to attempt to climb the 19,974 foot (6,088 metre) Huayna Potosi. His first attempt was cut short by a need for urgent medical attention in La Paz for a tooth abscess. Ten days later his second attempt at the summit was halted by heavy snow and avalanches. Although Mr. Fairhurst may not have reached those summits, his passion for mountaineering increased even more.
About a year later, he decided to join an international team to climb Cho Oyu in Tibet, an 8,000 metre mountain. They arrived at the mountain a week later and began their long acclimatization process. Leaving high camp (25,000 feet) at 11:30 p.m. and climbing all night up steep rock and icy terrain, the group reached the summit of Cho Oyu (8,201 metres) at 6 a.m. on October 5, 2008. “Hard training, determination, believing in yourself, and daring was the simple key to our success” says Mr. Fairhurst.
Mr. Fairhurst hopes to complete the seven summits, the highest on every continent, within a year. Already having climbed the four most difficult out of the seven, Mr. Fairhurst is in arm’s reach of his goal.
For more about his journeys go to www.DareToReach.ca.