Posted 03/12/2019

All the gear, no idea!

Headsouth kitting out and launch event

Last week I met with the Headsouth team at Twickenham Stadium to collect the huge bundles of kit we need in preparation for our trek to the South Pole for The Brain Tumour Charity

Our fantastic team is made up of an eclectic mix of characters from sports legends to business leaders who all bring different qualities and skills, but who have three big things in common:

  1. We have little experience! Many of us have never trekked to the South Pole before, or anywhere even remotely like it (with the exception of our team leaders who we’ll all be relying on to guide us safely to our destination, thank goodness!)
  2. We are all giving up something. Whether it’s a birthday at home with our loved ones, important business opportunities, or personal family events, we are giving them up to give our time to help people who desperately need our support instead.  
  3. We are all nervous…and excited! But despite the risks, and the certain pain and discomfort, we all have an open mindset and the courage and determination to make it to the end. 

 So here I am. All the gear and no idea, as they say! 

Michael Tobin Headsouth Challenge kit
I’m focusing on what lies ahead at the end of this month with mixed feelings of nervous anticipation and trepidation, and full-on heart-racing excitement!.

As I turn 56 years old, I’ll be heading off on a sled weighing 200kg and dragging all my stuff with me, with no help from dogs or ponies! It’s a far cry from my last birthday, at home in the warmth of my home and partying with my loved ones! 

This is very different from other challenges I have done in the past. This endeavour is a serious, physically extreme, and very dangerous feat. A challenge of a lifetime. Temperatures will drop to -35c, the wind could freeze skin in seconds and we will be at the mercy of the weather. 

Freezing temperatures, extreme conditions, a long way from home…This is no walk in the park. So why am I doing it? Why are my teammates doing it? Why would anyone give up precious holiday time with our families at the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ to walk to the coldest, most inhospitable place on the planet? 

Because cancer isn’t a walk in the park either. 

Because Brain Tumours are the BIGGEST CANCER KILLER IN CHILDREN 

And I for one cannot sit back while there is still a cure to be found. Together we must work together to tackle this enemy, which is totally indiscriminate and can strike anyone at any time.


What next? 

Headsouth launch event

Brain Tumour Charity Young Ambassador Rosie Clare began the day by sharing her heartfelt story, followed by Lewis Moody Foundation ambassador Oliver Highway. Both have suffered from brain tumours and reminded us why we are taking part in this challenge.

We then had a full briefing from our expedition leaders, polar explorer Alan Chambers and former UK Special Forces Officer Wayne Hoyle. Who explained what we’d be up against, and the real dangers we’ll be facing.

Michael Tobin’s Headsouth challenge 2020 – Lewis Moody MBE endorsement from Michael Tobin on Vimeo.

‘Tis the season to be jolly… right? 

Not for terminally ill brain tumour patients and their families, who are praying for a miracle. 

Not for the thousands of sick children who will be spending their Christmas in hospital battling cancer.  

And not for the thousands of people living with cancer and managing gruelling treatments, or coping with the fear of a recurrence. They all need our help. 

The best Christmas present I can possibly give this year is to take on the Head South challenge and raise as much money as I possibly can for the charity. 

As Alan explained, we’ll be walking 10 to 12 hours a day in whiteout conditions of 24-hour daylight, -40 degrees & 70km/h winds to help raise £250k for a pioneering new clinical trial to change outcomes for those with brain tumours. 

Thank you to all my supporters and sponsors who have already dug deep and helped me get on step closer to reaching my personal fundraising target of £75,000…NONE of this money funds my trip – I’m funding that myself. EVERYTHING YOU GIVE GOES DIRECTLY TO THE CHARITY. So thank you. 

The best present you can give now is to help us raise a ton of money and make a real difference this Christmas. 




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2 Weeks to go: HeadSouth Challenge