Clitheroe teen Zak is on top of the world after Everest cycling challenge

A teenager from Clitheroe is feeling on top of the world after cycling the altitude of Mount Everest, and helping others less fortunate in the process.
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Zak Burgess (14) is one of the youngest people in the world to complete the Everesting Challenge - an activity in which cyclists ascend and descend a given hill multiple times in order to reach the altitude of Everest (29,029ft).

And in the words of professional cyclist Mark Cavendish: "I take my hat off to anyone who has completed it in whatever capacity, it was grim."

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Zak has chosen to raise funds for the wonderful charity Re-Cycle who recycle bikes from the UK and send them to rural communities in Africa.

Zak Burgess. Picture: James MellorZak Burgess. Picture: James Mellor
Zak Burgess. Picture: James Mellor

Zak, who rides for the Green Jersey Cycling Club decided to take on Birdy Brow, Kemple End, a steep choice for this type of challenge and regarded as no mean feat to be able to climb it only once.

Starting at 5-30 am on Saturday, cycling through the night and finishing at 9am on Sunday, he cycled a total of 122 miles riding up the hill 52 times accumulating a total of 31,663ft.

Weather conditions were at times tough for Zak as he pedalled through the heat of Saturday afternoon and as darkness fell, so did the cold driving rain which started to take its toll on Zak.

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He struggled to stay warm and awake and his spirits were seriously put to the test. As dawn broke, the rain cleared and Zak gained a renewed energy as the realisation that he was within reaching distance became apparent.

Word started to spread within the local cycling community that this incredible feat by someone so young was likely to become reality and people started to gather at a social distance to clap and cheer him all the way to the summit.

As it was Father's Day, Zak's dad Niels was delighted to accompany him on his final climb to be met by a mix of cheers, tears and disbelief that such a young person would have the stamina and drive to accomplish a near impossible challenge.

Proud parents Niels and Gillian said: "This achievement has been in the making during lockdown and is entirely Zak's and Zak's alone.

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"He orchestrated the entire event including doing all the research, carefully choosing a charity and spent most of his training alone. He has shown everyone the strength of character he has always possessed and we are incredibly proud of him."

With tea and cake breaks, the event took about 28 hours to complete.

For those wishing to donate, please go to To learn more about the events of this epic challenge you can follow the Instagram page 'zakseverstingchallenge'

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