A former Premier League striker has Mount Everest in his sights after scaling one of the tallest peaks in Europe – despite not being a fan of heights.
Darius Henderson, who played for Watford in the English top flight in the late 2000s, has become a seasoned mountain climber, with Mont Blanc, which stands around 5,000m above sea level, one of his conquests. The 42-year-old, who also played for Reading, Gillingham, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United during a well-travelled career, says facing his fears is one of his key motivations as he is “not actually that great with heights”
“To put myself in those scenarios, I’m already trying to question what is actually driving me to do this,” Henderson told The Independent. “It must be something I search out and look for in life. It does scare me a little bit, to overcome my fears is probably a driving force behind this, I can only put it down to that.
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“Also, it’s not something within arm’s reach. I have to dedicate a lot of time to the training aspect, something that needs planning. It’s a sacrifice over a number of years.”
He is now in training as he looks to become the first footballer to scale Mount Everest, which stands at 8,849m.
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“You can’t just sign up for Mount Everest,” he said. “There’s a process and a journey, which takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication to achieve that end goal, so it’s kind of like reliving my life as a footballer. The training, the focus you need, the bravery, just in a different field.
“For me, the ultimate goal was to score in the Premier League. That was my ‘climbing Mount Everest’ when I was a footballer. I did that, and I think there’s less than 0.1 per cent of footballers who can say they’ve done that.
“Climbing Mount Everest, the odds to be able to say you’ve stood on top of the highest mountain in the world, the percentage of people is even lower. To be able to say ‘I’ve done Everest'… I wouldn’t say it’s selfish but it is ego-driven.”
“What I missed [about football after retirement] was the routine, that purpose to be healthy, to go to work and so on. You lose something. Retirement, it’s like a family member or friend has passed and you’re looking at old photos of them knowing you’re never going to see them again."
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