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Good luck Mel! Tourism Education Team Leader takes on Everest Marathon

Posted on 17/05/2016 by
ITC Tourism Education Team Leader Mel Fey (centre), with Marketing Manager Claire Huxley (right) and Head of Group Services Michelle Chatfield.

ITC Tourism Education Team Leader Mel Fey (centre), with Marketing Director Claire Huxley (right) and Head of Group Services Michelle Chatfield (left).

She’s called ‘Manic Mel’ for a reason – ITC’s bright, energetic Tourism Education Team Leader earned her nickname for her adventurous physical pursuits and bubbly personality. And the latest challenge in her path is a little more manic than most: the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon.

Yes, you read right – Mel Fey (also known as ‘The Energizer Bunny’) is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, a 42.2km run on Mount Everest. The super-fit tutor recently landed in Nepal to begin the acclimatisation process. The marathon is scheduled for May 29, but there’s a lot of fun to be had before then, including a trek to Base Camp (where the marathon begins).

The run is downhill, but with limited oxygen and potentially icy tracks, it’s going to be a huge physical and mental challenge – but it’s one that Mel can’t wait to begin. She’s been preparing for this marathon for three years, and was due to run it at this time last year – only it was cancelled due to Nepal’s devastating earthquakes.

Mel took this setback in her stride and threw herself into fundraising for those impacted by the quakes, including a group of 9 widows who live near Pangboche. The plight of these widows captured Mel’s heart, and she will be hand-delivering money to them once she has completed the marathon – some may call this crazy (completing a challenging hike mere hours after running 42.2 kilometres) – but this is an example of Mel’s incredible generosity and dedication.

So what inspires someone to run ‘the highest marathon in the world’? For Mel, it’s all about inspiring others – in particular her students at ITC, and her two gorgeous young daughters.

“I’d been feeling like I wanted to do something big – something I’d be proud of and that would inspire others,” Mel recently told Women’s Weekly.

“I teach Travel & Tourism, and I have seen how a positive role model can have a fantastic impact on teenagers. I wanted to something that would give them something to aspire to during this influential time of their lives.”

The students aren’t the only ones who are inspired – the staff at ITC have also watched Mel’s journey unfold with awe and admiration.

ITC Marketing Director Claire Huxley, and the team at the College, recently put on an Everest-themed morning tea to bid Mel good luck ahead of her big adventure. Staff donned their winter woollies in support.

“I feel so blessed to work with such awesome people,” Mel wrote on her blog,

“Everyone dressed up in their winter gear, and ice-cream treats, marshmallow puffs and yummy savouries were a perfect send-off.”

The countdown is on until the big run – we can’t wait to cheer Mel on from afar.

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