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Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Steven Sepulveda has been with San Gabriel Valley Training Center for over 28 years.  He is an athlete and a true inspiration!

The story begins in 1990, when Steve, along with 11 Special Olympics athletes and 22 coaches, set out to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa at 19,453 feet above sea level.  At 16,000 feet, the expedition found themselves in the worst snowstorm in 72 years.  The storm slowed their progress and depleted their food, forcing food to be rationed.  A decision was made that only five athletes could complete the journey and the remaining seven, (including Steve), were asked to turn back.  What a disappointment!

Seventeen years later, January 2007, a second expedition to Tanzania was arranged and the seven athletes were given another chance to reach their goal.  Most of them were now in their late 30s and early 40s, presenting them with the challenge of reconditioning and training.  As mature adults, the team decided that nothing could keep them from climbing the largest free standing mountain in the world.

“World T.E.A.M. Sports Kilimanjaro 2007” left the United States on January 20, and arrived at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Africa on January 22.  Now known as “The Magnificent Seven”, the team began their expedition.  Steve and his teammates  climbed 52 miles in eight days with temperatures ranging from 70 degrees at the onset to zero toward the top. 

All seven athletes reached the summit on January 29, 2007.   Steve said, “When I reached the top of the mountain, I was proud of myself.  All the hard work had paid off”.  Way to go, Steve!

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