Extreme Environment Athlete Richard Parks inspires students with tales of his 737 challenge


Over 120 students from the College Merthyr Tydfil and Merthyr Tydfil secondary schools had the privilege of meeting Richard Parks on 14th October 2014. The Extreme Environment Athlete, visited the college to talk to Geography, Sports, Outdoor Sports and Public Services students about his 737 challenge where he became the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles (North Pole, South Pole and the summit of Mount Everest) within 7 months.

Richard, who also became the fastest Brit in history to ski solo, unsupported and unassisted from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole in 2014, fascinated the students with tales of redemption, endurance and challenges that he overcame to complete the 737 feat.

Level 3 Outdoor Sports student Tom Powell, commented “The presentation from Richard was amazing. We had the opportunity to ask lots of questions about the best and worst moments of his challenge. It has certainly inspired me to do well in my course and go on to study Outdoor Sports at Foundation Degree level”.

Richard, who has also recently published his first book ‘Beyond The Horizon’ commented "It was awesome spending the morning with some of the students and teachers of The College Merthyr Tydfil. I am passionate about sharing my experiences with young people and the event was so much fun. Thanks to the interaction with the students, it was pretty insightful too. Being born just down the road, and having achieved things that many thought to be impossible, it would be amazing to think that they took something positive away with them from the morning.

Having engaged with, and been supported by, some of the students on Twitter it was great to meet them properly. The College Merthyr is pioneering the development of outdoor education in this region of South Wales, and it's been a privilege to share experiences with the students."

Key aspects of Richard’s presentation will now be used to inform some of the course work being undertaken by the students on the college’s BTEC Outdoor Sports course. Offered at Level 3, the course gives students the chance to develop skills and knowledge of various activities to provide more breadth and depth of the outdoor. Included within the course is a wide range of additional qualifications such as Duke of Edinburgh award, level 2 community sports leader’s award, level 3 higher sports leaders award and walk leaders award.  

Students participating on the course also get the opportunity to gain outdoor skills qualifications, work voluntarily in the community and join educational trips and expeditions abroad.

For further information on the course, please contact Gavin Davies, Course Tutor on: G.Davies@merthyr.ac.uk or come along to our Year 11 Open Evening on Thursday 27th November at 6.00pm.

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