Naomi Lines has travelled all over Europe but is now ready for a bigger challengeTereza Nekvasilova with permission for Varsity

What inspired you to commit to this?

Recently, I went travelling around Europe for the first time as a solo female traveller. Everywhere I went, what really made it for me was the people. I talked to people in severe poverty in Kosovo and financial hardship in Albania. I saw people struggling in Bosnia, yet when I had no cash, they offered to pay for my bus fare and gave me directions when I was lost in the middle of the mountains. This is why I want to give back to such kind people who were born into a situation that they had no control over. Raising money for charity is my way of doing this.

Could you tell me more about your chosen charities?

When I am in Arusha (Tanzania), I will be volunteering with a foundation called Dream Alive for Children, which looks at providing educational opportunities for children whose education is limited, of poor quality or completely non-existent. The money that I will be raising is for the charity International Needs, which is a worldwide development charity working to help families suffering through poverty and crises to create a sustainable future.

“I love to climb mountains and, at some point, would love to climb Everest. For me, this is the first step towards that”

Why Mount Kilimanjaro and the London Marathon?

My dad was supposed to run the London Marathon the year that Covid hit but could not due to the pandemic and an injury. I guess running it, for me, is a way of finishing what he started. I love to run, and although it may be tough, there is nothing better than that feeling after finishing something that was so difficult at the time, yet so rewarding in the end. In terms of Kilimanjaro, I love to climb mountains and, at some point, would love to climb Everest. For me, this is the first step towards that.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and running the London Marathon are both enormously challenging. How do you feel about this? Are you nervous at all?

I won’t lie and say that I feel completely fine and confident about going because I know that there will be many challenges when I am there. The first will be that I will have no outside contact for the entire month since where I am going has very limited reception. I have travelled on my own for six weeks around Europe, so it is not that aspect that worries me; it is more about my health when I am there. Travelling to Tanzania is not like travelling to France, where there is well-developed healthcare and is relatively safe. This is a place where I could contract rabies, malaria, altitude sickness and many more deadly diseases. I have taken the precautions, but you really never know. But my way of seeing life is to live it to the fullest, and this is my way of showing that.

“I am someone who does not give up whatever the task is, and the motivation to do it for charity will get me through”

What have you been doing to prepare yourself?

I have been doing 45-minute runs every day with a weighted backpack to build up endurance and upper-body strength. I also try to do some core exercises and weights every day, as well as long walks to get used to the volume of the steps. Mentally, I guess I have not really prepared. I am someone who does not give up whatever the task is, and the motivation to do it for charity will get me through.

Have you been training alone, or have you had support?

Nope, I have trained completely alone. This has given me flexibility. If I want to go on a run at 5am in the morning, I can just do it. My longer runs are usually ones that begin as a 5k and turn into 21k, and if I were running with someone, that could not necessarily happen.


Mountain View

Latte love! The Sidge barista who’s captured everyone’s hearts

How have you balanced training with the Cambridge workload?

I think the answer to this is I have not!!! Well, the way that I have been trying these past few weeks is to wake up early and run to rowing, cox an outing, and then do a longer run on the way back. This way, by 9:30am, I have already done my run. I then do 45 minutes of work, a ten minute workout, and then a five minute break, and I will pretty much do that the entire day. Usually, by 4pm, that five minute break has turned into a 50 minute break, but it has allowed me to feel like I have both trained my body and my brain in equal proportions.

Is there anything that you would like to tell the students of Cambridge?

I guess if I could tell Cambridge students anything, it would be to just do it. A lot of the time, people plan trips to these amazing places, but it falls through at the smallest barrier. So yeah, I would say just do it and keep an open mind about the people you meet and the places you go (just because you haven’t heard of them does not mean they are dangerous).