From Bus Driver to Everest Base Camp Trekker – Derek Reid’s Inspiring Journey

| Monday 15th January 2024 1:19pm

From Bus Driver to Everest Base Camp Trekker – Derek Reid’s Inspiring Journey

Having worked for a large Edinburgh based bus company as a driver/trainer for 37 years, a significant event was the catalyst for Derek Reid, 59, a customer at Edinburgh’s International Climbing Centre, to make changes in his life and achieve a long-held goal of trekking to Everest base camp to see Mount Everest with his own eyes.

In October 2022, he started researching potential companies and came across an 8-day trek with Follow Alice.  What set this trek apart was the unique descent via helicopter, providing an exhilarating end to the adventure. Impressed by the company's detailed itinerary, packing list, and fitness requirements, Derek embarked on a mission to prepare for the trek of a lifetime.

His journey began with a visit to the gym at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho, conveniently located in his hometown. Taking advantage of a January offer, Derek joined the gym, committing to a fitness regime with the guidance of gym staff Richard and Aaron. Little did he know, this decision would reshape his life in more ways than one.

At the outset in January 2023, Derek, weighing 14 stone, faced an unexpected health revelation during a routine medical check-up. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis confronted him. Opting for an alternative approach, he chose diet and exercise over medication, with the support of Edinburgh Leisure's fitness professionals.

Focusing on cardiovascular exercises and strength training, Derek's prorgramme included walking four miles on the treadmill, three on the cross trainer, and incorporating the Life Fitness Flexistrider. To simulate the trek's conditions, he wore his walking boots and a backpack loaded with 6kg weight of water bottles, attracting curious looks from fellow gym-goers.

Regular check-ins with his doctor showcased remarkable progress. By October 2023, Derek had shed 3 stones, normalised blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and successfully reversed his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. His dedication and hard work paid off, culminating in a triumphant trek to Everest Base Camp.

Derek described the trek as life-changing and is so grateful to the team at Edinburgh Leisure’s EICA for helping him to achieve his childhood dream.  “The guys gave me loads of encouragement, and I felt the encouragement was personal. They offered lots of back up and I would now count on the team as friends.”

Inspired by his achievement, Derek has set new goals, including walking the West Highland Way. Moreover, fuelled by the prospect of a successful investment, he dreams of returning to Nepal to conquer the Three Passes, a challenging trek through Renjo La, Cho La, and Kongma La in the Everest region.

Derek's story serves as a testament to the power of determination, lifestyle changes, and the support of a dedicated team. He hopes his journey from a sedentary life as a bus driver/trainer to a conqueror of Everest's base camp will inspire others to pursue their dreams, regardless of age or circumstance.

If you’re inspired by Derek’s story to kick start your New Year and get active - Edinburgh Leisure has a no-joining fee offer in January 2024. Choose from gym, fitness class, swim, climb or do it all with their Full Fitness membership. And if you’re curious about the fitness trends for 2024, check them out on the Edinburgh Leisure blog.

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