Greatest challenge at the Great Wall for personal trainer Louise

Louise Ballantyne from Leven is taking part in the Great Wall of China endurance challenge.
Louise Ballantyne from Leven is taking part in the Great Wall of China endurance challenge.

A personal trainer from Leven is preparing for the biggest challenge of her life, at one of the new wonders of the world.

Louise Ballantyne (26), who runs Life Health and Fitness, will make the long journey to China next month for a 60 hour endurance obstacle course race (OCR) at the Great Wall of China.

The race, organised by Spartan Race, is described as ‘one of the most unique mental and physical challenges in history’, and will involve various tasks including running, carrying, crawling, climbing and trekking.

“I already compete in OCR’s most weekends and have travelled all over the UK and abroad to compete.

“Although those are always a challenge, I wanted to push myself and do something that I’d really struggle with.”

Louise, who also works for Spartan as a junior race director, managing races for children and young people, was encouraged to get involved in the challenge by her boss at the company.

“My boss planted the seed. because I compete a lot, I’d actually made it to the OCR World Championships in Canada next month, but I decided to do this instead.”

Louise – who will be the first woman from the UK to take on the challenge – has funded the whole trip herself, spending nine days in total in China.

Despite competing most weekends, and exercising every day as part of her profession, Louise says this challenge is different to anything she has done before.

“This is a different kind of training. Although I’m constantly on the go and my fitness level is good, I’m not used to training with boots or a back pack on, so I have to get used to that.

“When it comes to the endurance side of things, I did a 24 hour Burpee challenge where I completed 720 burpees and was awake for 49 hours, while still seeing clients and doing classes.

“I think I’m going to be OK with the physical side of the challenge, it will be the mental side of it that will be most difficult.”

As well as challenging herself, Louise is also hoping to raise money for the British Thyroid Foundation. Her mum Karen suffers from hypothyroidism, and she wants to raise awareness of the condition.

“Mum has suffered from an underactive thyroid all of my life, having been diagnosed before I was born, and it’s got to the stage now where they can’t do anything for her.

“I want to raise awareness of it, as I think a lot of people don’t understand what people go through, and it wasn’t until I asked her to write down what she goes through that I fully understood it too.”

To support Louise go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Louise-Ballantyne6