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Virgin Strive Challenge 2018: The Route

28th June 2018

By Susie Ma

This year I will be joining the Core Team for the Virgin Strive Challenge 2018, and I’m so thrilled to be taking on this challenge in aid of Big Change, which you can read about on my main blog here. For those following my journey, I thought I’d share with you the route that I’ll be taking, so you can see just how exciting and demanding it’s going to be.


The challenge takes place in Italy and France throughout September, and sees entrepreneurs, thought leaders, philanthropists, inspirational speakers and extraordinary young people taking part at various stages of the challenge. I’m thrilled to say that I will be taking on not one, not two, but all FIVE stages!

Here is an overview of what the 5-stage challenge entails.


Stage 1: Starting out at the base of Mount Etna, we’ll be enduring 4 days of cycling and 2 days of sea kayaking across Sardinia, where the group will be cycling an average of 100km, with 1,000m of climbing, each day. We’ll then be kayaking through the Alghero Gulf for roughly 10km a day.


Stage 2: A 5-day hike on the island of Corsica. We’ll be spending 4 of the days on the GR20 which they say is ‘the hardest but most beautiful hike in Europe’. Accommodation will be mountain huts which is about as basic as it gets, but I can’t wait to be out in nature!


Stage 3: A 5-day cycle this time, travelling from Monaco to Tignes. We’ll be cycling through the Southern Alps and will be tackling the iconic Tour de France climbs. This will be the toughest stage of the challenge, cycling a distance of 110km every day, while ascending 2,100m each day.


Stage 4: Another 5-day hike, except this one is less mountain peaks and more alpine meadows and valleys. We’re going to be hiking for about 100km and ascending 5,000m over the 5 days, between the ski resorts of Tignes and Chamonix, staying in basic mountain huts along the way.


Stage 5: The final stage is the Mont Blanc climb! Only the core team are going to be taking on this hike and I can’t wait to climb the highest peak in Western Europe. At 4,810m high, Mont Blanc is said to be a beautiful summit to scale, with incredible views of the Alps. I can’t think of a better ending to what is sure to be a tough but amazing challenge. You can read more on the official Strive website here.


After last year’s challenge I have a new sense of confidence in my abilities, so I feel more ready than ever. This will be the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever tackled, and I know the training is going to be frequent and intense, but I’ve already started, and I’m feeling positive and ready to smash it!

Keep your eyes peeled right here and on my Instagram account @susiematropic for updates on my journey, and I would be thrilled if you could donate towards my total target of £50,000 - every amount, big or small, helps in a huge way and is so appreciated by me and by Big Change! Donate here.

Love, Susie x

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