Welcome to extreme resolutions: Going the extra mile, 365 times

Struggling with New Year's resolves? Here are two to consider

06 January 2019 - 00:01 By JONATHAN ANCER


How many can honestly say they stuck to the New Year's resolutions they made a year ago? Andrew Patterson and Tim Brink can.
On December 31, Patterson summited Table Mountain for the 365th time that year. So what did he do the following day, New Year's Day 2019? He hiked up Cape Town's iconic mountain one more time.
"My final 2018 climb was with family and friends, so I wanted to do a solo climb just to let it all sink in," says the 39-year-old former manager in the beverage industry.
Patterson believes his 366 daily summits of Table Mountain - which he did come rain, storm or howling winds and sometimes without shoes - is a world record.
The idea for his daily challenge was planted in 2017, when he was told he was being retrenched. "I realised I was stuck and fearful in my job and it dawned on me that being retrenched is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and give back," he says.
"I was thinking about what I could do to add value to people's lives when I looked up and saw Table Mountain. I decided to hike up it every day to raise money for charities I care about. It was such a simple idea but it touched everything I love."
Patterson launched 365 Ubuntu Climbs, encouraging people to sponsor him R1 a hike on the crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy. He raised almost R400,000 for Habitat for Humanity, One Heart For Kids and the Sunflower Fund.
"I wanted to show people that together we have the power to change lives," he says.
Patterson decided he would never put himself in harm's way and was part of a hikers' network tracking people on the mountain. He knew rescuers would look for him if he went missing, but that never happened.
Word spread and people came to climb with Patterson. He inspired them, and they inspired him. "If I felt pap [weak], I took it slowly. During the year I had two sore throats and twisted an ankle, but that was a reminder to focus on every step."
When his year of living repetitively was over, he had walked 2,429km with a vertical gain of 263km (or 71 Mount Everest summits) and spent 40 days, four hours, 18 minutes and 43 seconds on the mountain.
His quickest climb was 1hr 20min; his longest almost 9hr.
For Tim Brink, editor of Ride magazine, last year was one of revolutions rather than resolutions. He resolved to revolve - by completing a cycling challenge every day of the year.
Brink, 50, decided on the challenge when Strava, the app that tracks runners and cyclists' activities, revealed that only 40 of their 30-million-odd users had uploaded a verifiable activity every day the previous year.
"That seemed surprisingly few. I now have an inkling why ."
The rules: ride every day with a heart rate monitor or power meter so you can't crook the books, and for at least an hour. Of the 365 days, there were only five on which he had to force himself out of the house.
"Two of those were at 10pm, but lastminute.com still counts. I don't think that's a bad return: five bleh days, 360 joyful ones."
On December 31, Brink rode on Cape Town's Constantia green belts, where he had done much of his riding in 2018, and finished his ride with a triumphant espresso. "It was anticlimactic, but this was a personal journey, and low-key was the right call."
He didn't kick back on January 1 either: he hauled out his speedy recumbent bike and went for a late-afternoon spin.
At the end of his streak, Brink had cycled 16,451km, spent 732 hours in the saddle, climbed the equivalent of 20 Everests, burnt 419,789 calories and had five punctures. His longest ride was 376km and his shortest 11km, when he fell ill during the last week of the year.
"On Day 362 I was a shivering wreck in 35°C heat, but I got on my bike. I kept my heart rate low and plodded. It was the only ride in the year I didn't enjoy.
"I have always been a fan of stupid ideas, and this was one that played into all my stubborn traits."
For those who want to join the extreme resolution club but don't want a 365-day fitness challenge, 36-year-old Mat Hartley's idea might be more enticing. In 2014, when he lived in the UK, the KwaZulu-Natal-based resolutioner braaied for 365 consecutive days to raise funds for rhino conservation.

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